Occupational Asthma Reference
What are the benefits of medical screening and surveillance?,
Eur Respir Rev,
Keywords: ERS, review, guidelines, surveillance, occupational asthma,
Pre-employment examination is considered to be an important practice and is
commonly performed in several countries within the European Union. The benefits of medical surveillance programmes are not generally accepted and their structure is often inconsistent. The aim of this review was to evaluate, on the basis of the available literature, the usefulness of
medical screening and surveillance. MEDLINE was searched from its inception up to March 2010. Retrieved literature was evaluated in a peer-review process and relevant data was collected following a systematic extraction schema.
Pre-placement screening identifies subjects who are at an increased risk for developing workrelated allergic disease, but pre-employment screening is too low to be used as exclusion criteria.
Medical surveillance programmes can identify workers who have, or who are developing, workrelated asthma. These programmes can also be used to avoid worsening of symptoms by implementing preventive measures. A combination of different tools within the surveillance programme, adjusted for the risk of the individual worker, improves the predictive value.
Medical surveillance programmes provide medical as well as socioeconomic benefits.However, pre-employment screening cannot be used to exclude workers. They may act as a starting point for surveillance strategies. A stratified approach can increase the effectiveness and reduce the costs for such programmes
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