Preventing Occupational Disease and Injury. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 1991 Jan; :612-622
The methods used to diagnose nonmalignant occupational respiratory disease were discussed. These are questionnaires, chest radiographs, lung function tests which included measures of forced airflow from the lungs, lung volumes, and blood gas determinations, and physical examinations. Questionnaire methods include asking people about their respiratory symptoms and then analyzing the results. Sensitivity, specificity, consistency and bias are important in this method. Certain agents can produce abnormalities detectable on chest X-rays. However, the X-ray is not an adequate tool for diagnosing all lung diseases. Various lung function tests are widely but inconsistently used to determine disability. The physical examination tends to be insensitive and nonspecific in identifying occupational lung diseases. This method includes inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. In prevention, the appropriate selection of tests is critical. Appropriate tests can be used for the health surveillance of workers exposed to known or suspected pulmonary hazards. Environmental monitoring should not be substituted by health surveillance.