: The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence of occupational exposures, their potential contribution to the development of chronic diseases among medical inpatients, and their recognition by house officers. Occupational histories were obtained from 101 medical inpatients and their charts were reviewed. Sixty-six percent of patients had diseases for which an occupational etiology merited consideration. A relevant occupational exposure was discovered in 68% of patients with a disease potentially attributable to occupation. Specific disease/exposure pairs were associated with each other (P = .001). Senior house staff recognized fewer relevant exposures (17%) than did interns (55%) (P < .001). Relevant occupational exposures are common among medical inpatients, but frequently go unrecognized because of an inadequate fund of knowledge in occupational medicine among physicians.
(C)1993 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine