Occupational Asthma Reference

Xie W, Dumas O, Varraso R, Boggs KM, Camargo, CA, Stokes AC, Association of occupational exposure to inhaled agents in operating rooms with incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among US female nurses, JAMA Netw Open, 2021;4:e2125749,doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.25749

Keywords: nurge, healthcare, ep, usa, diathermy smoke, operating theatre

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Importance: Employment in operating rooms (ORs) may involve exposure to several inhaled agents, including surgical smoke and disinfectants, which are associated with adverse respiratory health effects. However, the association of long-term employment in ORs and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains unknown.

Objective: To examine the association of working in an OR with incidence of COPD among female nurses in the US.

Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study used data from the Nurses' Health Study for US female registered nurses who provided information on questionnaires regarding OR employment history in 1984 and job type in 1982 and who had no history of COPD in 1984 (baseline). Data analyses were conducted from April 1, 2020, to January 31, 2021.

Exposures: Duration of nursing in the OR and job type.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The associations of any employment as an OR nurse, duration of employment, and duration and job type with incidence of self-reported, physician-diagnosed COPD. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs were estimated using Cox proportional hazards regression models stratified by age and calendar year. Models were adjusted for covariates, with model 1 adjusting for age, model 2 also adjusting for cigarette smoking status and pack-year of smoking, and model 3 also adjusting for race and ethnicity, US Census region, and body mass index.

Results: Among 75?011 female nurses included in the analyses, the mean (SD) age at baseline was 50.5 (7.2) years; 29% had a history of employment in an OR, and 3% had 15 or more years of OR experience. In model 3, employment in an OR for 15 or more years was associated with a 46% increased risk of developing COPD compared with no history of OR employment (HR, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.10-1.93). Compared with nurses who never worked in an OR and had an administrative or nursing education function or a nonnursing job in 1982, the risk of developing COPD was greater among nurses who provided outpatient care (HR, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.04-1.47) and nurses employed in inpatient units (HR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.07-1.59) who had no history of OR employment and was 69% greater among nurses with OR experience of 15 years or more (HR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.25-2.28).

Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study, OR employment of 15 years or more was associated with an increased risk of developing COPD among female nurses. Additional studies with more recent and direct environmental monitoring data of multiple occupational exposures are needed to assess the relative role of exposure to surgical smoke and disinfectants in the observed association.

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