Objective: To evaluate the association between postdeployment respiratory conditions and deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Methods: We linked deployment history of US military personnel with postdeployment medical records. We then conducted a nested case–control study.
Results: Relative to a single deployment, multiple deployments were not significantly associated with obstructive pulmonary disease (odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.42). Cumulative time deployed was also not significantly associated with obstructive pulmonary disease. Nevertheless, we did note that the rate of respiratory symptoms and encounters for obstructive pulmonary diseases (predominantly asthma and bronchitis) increased from before to after deployment.
Conclusions: In a population of active duty US military personnel, we observed an increase in postdeployment respiratory symptoms and medical encounters for obstructive pulmonary diseases, relative to predeployment rates, in the absence of an association with cumulative deployment duration or total number of deployments.