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Agricultural exposures in patients with COPD in health systems serving rural areas.

Bailey KL; Meza JL; Smith LM; Von Essen SG; Romberger DJ
J Agromedicine 2008 Oct; 12(3):71-76
Background: Agricultural exposure is a risk factor for the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, there are no good estimates of the number of COPD patients with a history of agricultural exposure. Methods: We conducted a telephone interview of subjects with COPD identified by reviewing all pulmonary function tests at the Omaha Veterans Administration Hospital between November 2004 and March 2005. Obstructive lung disease was defined as a FEV1/FVC ratio of less than 70%. The survey detailed demographic data, smoking history, pulmonary symptoms, and history of agricultural exposures. Results: Participants included 150 veterans (mean age 68.2 years +/-10.8). A history of agricultural exposure was elicited in 68% of subjects. Of those who had worked in agriculture, the types of exposures varied, with 14% in hog confinement barns, 20% on dairy farms, 8% on poultry farms, and 87% exposed to grain dust. There was a trend of diminishing FEV1 with increasing years of agricultural exposure. Conclusions: In health systems that serve rural areas, patients with COPD commonly have a history of agricultural exposures that may contribute to the development of COPD. Health care workers in these areas should include agricultural exposures as an important part of the social/ occupational history in these patients.
Organic-dusts; Inhalants; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Diseases; Exposure-levels; Animals; Farmers; Agriculture; Agricultural-industry; Bacterial-dusts; Bacteria; Workers; Work-environment; Statistical-analysis; Epidemiology; Demographic-characteristics; Age-groups; Author Keywords: Agriculture; COPD; lung disease; pulmonary function tests; farming
Kristina L. Bailey, MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Department of Internal Medicine-Pulmonary, 985300 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-5300
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
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Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska
Page last reviewed: May 13, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division