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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2012 Aug;85(6):623-30. doi: 10.1007/s00420-011-0708-6. Epub 2011 Oct 11.

On-site screening of farming-induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with the use of an electronic mini-spirometer: results of a pilot study in Brittany, France.

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Respiratory Department, Pontchaillou Hospital, Rennes 1 University, 2 Rue Henri Le Guilloux, 35033, Rennes, France.



Dairy farming is a risk factor for the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We assessed the prevalence of farming-induced COPD (FI-COPD) using a new screening device, and we analyzed symptoms and occupational risk factors.


We performed on-site screening study of bronchial obstruction using an electronic mini-spirometer (EMS) on an entire population of dairy farmers (n = 147) from two villages in Brittany, France. Suspected bronchial obstruction (FEV1/FEV6 <0.8) was confirmed with standardized lung function tests (FEV1/FVC ≤0.7). We assessed past medical histories, respiratory symptoms, and occupational tasks of subjects with bronchial obstruction; asthmatics were defined as atopic and/or reversible; smoking-induced COPD patients were defined as non-reversible, non-atopic with smoking histories (≥5 PY); and FI-COPD patients were defined as non-reversible, non-atopic, and non-smokers.


Using the EMS, 30.6% (n = 45) of dairy farmers were suspected of bronchial obstruction and underwent standardized spirometry. The FEV1/FEV6 ratio and FEV1/FVC ratio were in good agreement (r² = 0.66, P < 0.0001). The prevalence of confirmed bronchial obstruction was 9.5% (n = 14), which included 4 asthmatics, 3 smoking-induced COPD subjects, and 7 FI-COPD subjects. All the COPD patients were GOLD Stage II, and none were aware of their respiratory disease. Foddering duration was significantly higher in FI-COPD subjects compared with non-obstructive subjects, with 44 versus 17 min/day, respectively.


The EMS was a convenient mean of screening for bronchial obstruction, especially in on-site settings, and allowed us to diagnose FI-COPD in a non-spontaneously complaining dairy farmer population. Foddering was considered a significant risk factor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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