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Am J Ind Med. 2018 Oct;61(10):802-814. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22900. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Self-reported physician-diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and spirometry patterns in Vietnam Era US Army Chemical Corps veterans: A retrospective cohort study.

Author information

1
Epidemiology Program, Post Deployment Health Services (10P4Q), Office of Patient Care Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, District of Columbia.
2
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland-Baltimore, Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
3
Office of Research and Development, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, District of Columbia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Research on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and herbicide exposure in Vietnam War veterans is limited.

METHODS:

Survey data were collected from 3193 US Army Chemical Corps veterans on herbicide exposure and self-reported physician-diagnosed COPD. Three spirometric patterns were used to define airflow obstruction (AFO): (i) FEV1 /FVC < 70% ("fixed ratio"); (ii) FEV1 /FVC < lower limit of normal ("LLN"); and (iii) (FEV1 /FVC < LLN and FVC ≥ LLN and FEV1 <LLN) or (FEV1 /FVC<LLN and FEV1  ≥ LLN) ("specific obstruction"). Associations between herbicide exposure and self-reported COPD and spirometric-AFO were determined using regression.

RESULTS:

COPD prevalence varied (self-reports: 20.1%; spirometry: 29.8%, 12.9%, 8.4% by fixed ratio, LLN, and specific obstruction definitions, respectively). Spirometric parameters did not differ by exposure. Self-reported COPD and herbicide exposure were significantly associated (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.82, 95% confidence intervaI: 1.48,2.24). No association was found between spirometric-AFO and herbicide exposure.

CONCLUSIONS:

A significant association was found between herbicide exposure and self-reported physician-diagnosed COPD but not when COPD diagnosis was based on spirometry.

KEYWORDS:

COPD; Vietnam war; herbicides; spirometry

PMID:
30159906
DOI:
10.1002/ajim.22900

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