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Agreement between obstructive airways disease diagnoses from self-report questionnaires and medical records.

Weakley J; Webber MP; Ye F; Zeig-Owens R; Cohen HW; Hall CB; Kelly K; Prezant DJ
Prev Med 2013 Jul; 57(1):38-42
Objective: To evaluate agreement between self-reported obstructive airways disease (OAD) diagnoses of asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema obtained from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) monitoring questionnaires with physician diagnoses from FDNY medical records. Method: We measured sensitivity, specificity, and agreement between self-report and physician OAD diagnoses in FDNY members enrolled in the World Trade Center (WTC) monitoring program who completed a questionnaire between 8/2005-1/2012. Using logistic models, we identified characteristics of those who self-report a physician diagnosis that is also reported by FDNY physicians. Results: 20.3% of the study population (N = 14,615) self-reported OAD, while 15.1% received FDNY physician OAD diagnoses. Self-reported asthma had the highest sensitivity (68.7%) and overall agreement (91.9%) between sources. Non-asthma OAD had the lowest sensitivity (32.1%). Multivariate analyses showed that among those with an OAD diagnosis from FDNY medical records, inhaler use (OR = 4.90, 95% CI = 3.84-6.26) and respiratory symptoms (OR = 1.55 [95% CI = 1.25-1.92]-1.77 [95% CI = 1.37-2.27]) were associated with self-reported OAD diagnoses. Conclusion: Among participants in the WTC monitoring program, sensitivity for self-reported OAD diagnoses ranges from good to poor and improves by considering inhaler use. These findings highlight the need for improved patient communication and education, especially for bronchitis or COPD/emphysema.
Health-surveys; Questionnaires; Airway-obstruction; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-disorders; Emergency-response; Emergency-responders; Rescue-workers; Medical-monitoring; Bronchial-asthma; Clinical-diagnosis; Medical-care; Physicians; Health-programs; Sensitivity-testing; Author Keywords: Obstructive airways disease (OAD); World Trade Center (WTC); Sensitivity/specificity/agreement; Self-reported diagnoses; Population study
Mayris P. Webber, New York City Fire Department, Bureau of Health Services, 9 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement; Contract
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Contract-200-2011-39378; Contract-200-2011-39383; M082013
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Preventive Medicine
Performing Organization
New York City Fire Department
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division