Objective: To assess the associations between operating room (OR) nursing, a category of health care workers at high risk of exposure to various inhaled agents, and asthma severity/control among women with asthma.
Methods: The level of severity/control in nurses with prevalent doctor-diagnosed asthma in 1998/2000 was compared, using nominal logistic regression, in OR nursing (n = 69) and administrative nursing (n = 546) from the US Nurses' Health Study for whom detailed information on asthma and nursing employment status was available.
Results: We observed a significant association between OR nursing, compared with administrative nursing, and severe persistent asthma (adjusted odds ratio, 2.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.06 to 5.77).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that nurses working in the OR are at a higher risk of severe persistent asthma. Further studies with detailed estimates of occupational exposures, especially to disinfectant/cleaning agents, are warranted.