Diffuse Lung Disease |

Baseline Symptoms and Pulmonary Function of Military Personnel Prior to Deployment FREE TO VIEW

Andrew Skabelund, MD; MIchael Morris, MD
Author and Funding Information

SAMMC, Ft. Sam Houston, TX

Chest. 2013;144(4_MeetingAbstracts):480A. doi:10.1378/chest.1704368
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SESSION TITLE: Occupational/ Environmental Lung Disease Posters

SESSION TYPE: Original Investigation Poster

PRESENTED ON: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM

PURPOSE: There are ongoing concerns about the relationship of various environmental exposures in the recent theaters of operations to the development of chronic respiratory symptoms. Comprehensive evaluations have been performed on personnel returning from theater complaining of respiratory symptoms but there has been inadequate documentation of their baseline symptoms and pulmonary function prior to their deployment. This study was designed to evaluate military personnel prior to deployment to determine the extent of preexisting disease, pulmonary function abnormalities, and other risk factors for developing increased respiratory symptoms.

METHODS: Participants were active duty soldiers recruited during their pre-deployment processing prior to deployment from Fort Hood, Texas to Iraq/Afghanistan. All participants first completed a respiratory questionnaire to establish any baseline pulmonary symptoms, provide smoking history, and provide general medical information. Baseline spirometry and impulse oscillometry were then obtained with repeat values to be obtained post-deployment.

RESULTS: 775 soldiers completed the pre-deployment evaluation. 140(18.8%) were current smokers and 181(23.1%) were former smokers. 51(6.8%) reported symptoms of dyspnea in the previous four weeks and 27(3.5%) reported persistent dyspnea for greater than 4 weeks. Only 16(2.1%) reported a history of asthma and 24(3.1%) had been or were currently being treated with inhaled medications. 182(23.4%) failed their most recent physical fitness test. 308(39.9%) had a BMI > 25.0 kg/m2 and 15(1.9%) had a BMI >30 kg/m2. Baseline spirometry showed an obstructive ventilatory defect in 67(8.7%) participants prior to deployment.

CONCLUSIONS: There are known risk factors for increased respiratory symptoms and lung disease in soldiers being deployed to combat zones. Pre-deployment respiratory symptoms, suboptimal exercise endurance and spirometric abnormalities are common in these soldiers. Additional contributing factors may include prior or current smoking and the relative proportion of overweight service members.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Preexisting abnormalities and exposures may account for many of the abnormalities seen in military personnel returning from the theater operation complaining of chronic respiratory symptoms. Evaluation of these symptoms should not only include deployment exposures but also previous exposures, symptoms and risk factors.

DISCLOSURE: MIchael Morris: Consultant fee, speaker bureau, advisory committee, etc.: paid speaker for Pfizer/Boehringer-Ingelheim The following authors have nothing to disclose: Andrew Skabelund

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