PURPOSE: The increasing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have attracted the Korean medical personnels’ attention, but the prevalence of COPD was not investigated extensively, especially after bronchodilator inhalation. Many kinds of dusts are thought to contribute to the development of COPD.
METHODS: Chest X-ray images were taken in dust-exposed 987 male workers, and pulmonary function tests were done with short-acting bronchodilator during the periodic health examination from 2008 to 2009. Excluding the workers with the images of the findings that could affect lung function, the data of a total of 655 workers were analyzed.
RESULTS: The prevalence of COPD increased with age: under age 45, 0.0%; 45 to 64, 33.7%; 65 to 74, 52.5%; 75 and over, 56.3% (p=0.000). COPD was also prevalent in those with long-term exposure to dusts (silica, coalmine dust, etc): under 20 years, 37.4%; 20 to 29, 45.3%, 30 years and over, 51.0% (p=0.055). And the prevalence of COPD was higher in underground workers (42.6%), especially drilling workers, than ground workers (33.3%). About half of pneumoconiosis patients had COPD: 44.5% in profusion category 1; 50.5% in 2; 60.0% in 3, but the prevalence in profusion category 0/0 and 0/1 was also high, 32.1% and 34.5%, respectively. The prevalence of COPD in smokers was higher than non-smokers (32.7%), but there was no difference between current-smokers (43.7%) and ex-smokers (42.4%).
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of COPD in dust-exposed workers was very high. Also, the prevalence had the increasing trend with exposure duration, although the statistical significance was not strong.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: It is necessary to focus on the effect of dusts in the development of COPD.
DISCLOSURE: Byung-Soon Choi, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information