Objective: To evaluate agreement between self-reported obstructive airways disease (OAD) diagnoses of asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema obtained from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) monitoring questionnaires with physician diagnoses from FDNY medical records.
Method: We measured sensitivity, specificity, and agreement between self-report and physician OAD diagnoses in FDNY members enrolled in the World Trade Center (WTC) monitoring program who completed a questionnaire between 8/2005-1/2012. Using logistic models, we identified characteristics of those who self-report a physician diagnosis that is also reported by FDNY physicians.
Results: 20.3% of the study population (N=14,615) self-reported OAD, while 15.1% received FDNY physician OAD diagnoses. Self-reported asthma had the highest sensitivity (68.7%) and overall agreement (91.9%) between sources. Non-asthma OAD had the lowest sensitivity (32.1%). Multivariate analyses showed that among those with an OAD diagnosis from FDNY medical records, inhaler use (OR=4.90, 95% CI=3.84-6.26) and respiratory symptoms (OR=1.55 [95% CI=1.25-1.92]-1.77 [95% CI=1.37-2.27]) were associated with self-reported OAD diagnoses.
Conclusion: Among participants in the WTC monitoring program, sensitivity for self-reported OAD diagnoses ranges from good to poor and improves by considering inhaler use. These findings highlight the need for improved patient communication and education, especially for bronchitis or COPD/emphysema.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.