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Am J Med. 1997 May;102(5):435-40.

Screening in special populations: a "case study" of recent Vietnamese immigrants.

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  • 1Evans Department of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To determine how the medical and social profile of a particular special population, Vietnamese immigrants, should be used to tailor screening protocols that differ from those designed for the general population.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

A consecutive series of Vietnamese immigrants living in the United States for less than 6 months were evaluated by interviewer-administered standardized questionnaire and medical record review. A total of 99 new Vietnamese immigrants (47 women and 52 men) aged 19 to 71 years presenting for primary care to two neighborhood health centers between October 1994 and June 1995 were identified. Data collected included smoking status, alcohol use (CAGE questionnaire), depression (Vietnamese Depression Scale [VDS]), PPD status, stool ova and parasites, hepatitis B and syphilis serologies.

RESULTS:

Overall, 32% were smokers and significantly more men than women smoked (54% vs. 9%) (P < .00001). Although 24% of patients used alcohol, none responded positively to any of the CAGE questions. Using the VDS, 17% (17 of 99) were depressed; age 40 and older was the only sociodemographic factor associated with depression (P < .00001). Ova or parasites were found in 51% (41 of 80), and 63% of those infected (26 of 41) required treatment for pathogenic infections. Seventy percent (66 of 94) tested positive on the tuberculin skin test (PPD), and antituberculous medication was recommended in 39% (37 of 94). Eighty-three percent (80 of 96) had been exposed to hepatitis B, and 14% (13 of 96) were chronic hepatitis B carriers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Caring for special populations provides an opportunity to institute appropriate unique screening tests not recommended for the general population. In the case of new Vietnamese immigrants, routine screening protocols should include the following: testing for tuberculosis by PPD, stool ova and parasite examinations, hepatitis B serologies, and assessment for depression and smoking status. The CAGE questionnaire may not be an effective instrument for detecting alcohol abuse in this particular population.

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PMID:
9217639
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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