A study to explore occupational asthma diagnosis using respiratory case studies

This was a two-phase study which began in January 2006 and involved a group of 53 chest physicians and 51 occupational physicians (selected at random) who have reported respiratory cases to THOR during 2003-2005. This work was coordinated by THOR at the University of Manchester, and involved collaboration with the Health & Safety Laboratory in Buxton. The study aimed to investigate the agreement in diagnosis of occupational asthma using cases of respiratory ill health collected by the Group of Respiratory Disease Specialists (GORDS). This work received ethical approval from the Trent Multi-centre Research Ethics Committee. The results showed that occupational asthma scores from respiratory and occupational physicians were not systematically different, however there was limited agreement between physicians within each clinical specialty. Further work on what triggers physicians to consider a case to be occupational asthma will assist better diagnosis and prevention of this disease for employees.  

Many thanks to those of you who participated in the study; your participation is invaluable to THOR. The results have now been published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at:

Turner S, McNamee R, Roberts C, Bradshaw L, Curran A, Francis M, Fishwick D, Agius R
Agreement in diagnosing occupational asthma by occupational and respiratory physicians who report to surveillance schemes for work-related ill-health
Occup Environ Med 2010; 67(7): 471-478 doi:10.1136/oem.2008.044560