Spirometric and hygienic criteria in recognition of occupational COPD in Poland – A retrospective analysis of medical records
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Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Occupational Diseases and Environmental Health)
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Projects’ Management, Innovation and Implementation)
Online publication date: 2017-10-02
Corresponding author
Aneta Kleniewska   

Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Department of Occupational Diseases and Environmental Health, św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź, Poland
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2018;31(2):139-50
Objectives: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be work-related. It has been estimated that 15% of the population burden of COPD is attributable to occupational exposure. However, in Poland COPD is rarely recognized as an occupational disease. The aim of the study has been to analyze the causes of the low prevalence of work-related COPD in the context of the existing criteria as well as to analyze which part of the assessment – clinical or hygienic one – is responsible for such a low rate of occupational COPD recognitions. Material and Methods: The study group included 150 patients hospitalized with a suspicion of occupational COPD. Each patient underwent a clinical examination, spirometry and reversibility test using bronchodilator. Moreover, hygienic evaluation of work conditions was performed in all the considered cases. Results: In the case of the patients who fulfilled the criteria for COPD diagnosis in accordance with the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) occupational origins of the disease, the disease was not recognized because 24.1% of the individuals did not meet spirometric criteria included in a definition of COPD in the Polish list of occupational diseases, while 27.8% of the individuals did not fulfill the criterion of a documented exposure to dusts and irritant gases. None of these criteria was fulfilled by 42.6% of the patients. Conclusions: In our country, both clinical and hygienic criteria result in limitations in recognition of occupational COPD. There is the need to establish new guidelines for the recognition of COPD as a compensable disease in Poland. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2018;31(2):139–150
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