What is the sensitivity and specificity of respiratory questionnaires in the diagnosis of validated cases of occupational asthma?

** 2+ In the clinical setting questionnaires that identify symptoms of wheeze and/or shortness of breath which improve on days away from work or on holiday have a high sensitivity, but relatively low specificity for occupational asthma.


Baur X, Huber H, Degens PO, Allmers H, Ammon J , Relation Between Occupational Asthma Case History, Bronchial Methachlorine Challenge, And Specific Challenge Test In Patients With Suspected Occupational Asthma , Am J Ind Med , 1998 ; 33 : 114-122

Cote J, Kennedy S, ChanYeung M , Quantitative Versus Qualitative Analysis Of Peak Expiratory Flow In Occupational Asthma , Thorax , 1993 ; 48 : 48-51

Malo JL, Ghezzo H, L'Archeveque J et al , Is The Clinical History A Satisfactory Means Of Diagnosing Occupational Asthma? , Am Rev Respir Dis , 1991 ; 143 : 528-532

Merget R, SchultzeWerninghaus G, Muthorst T et al , Asthma Due To The Complex Salts Of Platinum: A Cross-Sectional Survey Of Workers In A Platinum Refinery , Clin Allergy , 1988 ; 18 : 569-580

Vandenplas O, BinardVanCangh F, Brumagne A et al , Occupational Asthma In Symptomatic Workers Exposed To Natural Rubber Latex: Evaluation Of Diagnostic Procedures , J Allergy Clin Immunol , 2001 ; 107 : 542-547

Vandenplas O, Delwiche JP, Evrard G et al , Prevalence of occupational asthma due to latex among hospital personnel , Am J Respir Crit Care Med , 1995 ; 151 : 54-60

Principal reccomendations

This statement supports the following principal reccomendations

View the principal reccomendations

Health practitioners should consider the use of skin prick or serological tests as part of the health surveillance of workers exposed to agents that cause IgE associated occupational asthma to assess the effectiveness of the control of exposure and the risk of occupational asthma among workers.

Physicians should confirm a diagnosis of occupational asthma supported by objective criteria (functional, immunological, or both) and not on the basis of a compatible history alone because of the potential implications for future employment.

Oasys and occupational asthma smoke logo