Longitudinal assessment of pulmonary function change over time in occupational health setting
Keywords:Longitudinal normal limit, Spirometry, Health surveillance
A Pulmonary Function Test, which is a part of medical surveillance, is used for surveillance of the health of workers exposed to respiratory hazards. The objective of this screening test is for early detection of initial abnormality without symptoms in the respiratory system. This is useful for workers' health surveillance and monitor the efficiency of the control system in workplace. The Statistical data of occupational respiratory diseases in Thailand, such as asbestosis, silicosis, occupational asthma, is low when compared to the number of workers in the industrial sectors. This might result from an insufficiency of standards or guidelines for the pulmonary function test interpretation for long-term health effects monitoring. Therefore, occupational health personnel cannot effectively monitor and diagnose occupational respiratory diseases. Recently, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has recommended an updated guideline statement of spirometry in the occupational health setting which is including interpretation for long-term health effects monitoring. This guideline statement has initially led to the detection of a significant reduction of the pulmonary function test. This is useful for Thailand to apply this guideline statement for monitoring long-term health effects of workers exposed to chemical hazards which affect the respiratory system.
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