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Rapid Decline in Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 Second (FEV1) and the Development of Bronchitic Symptoms Among New Chinese Coal Miners

Wang, Mei-Lin MD; Wu, Zhi-En MD; Du, Qin-Guo MD; Peng, Kai-Liang MD; Li, Ya-Dong; Li, Shao-Kui; Han, Gui-Hai; Petsonk, Edward L. MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 10 - p 1143-1148
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31814b8d51
Original Articles

Objective: To investigate the relationship between the development of bronchitic symptoms and the early rapid decline of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1).

Methods: A two-stage and a mixed model approach were used to analyze data from 260 newly hired Chinese coal miners who completed approximately 5 to 16 health surveys during 3 years.

Results: The proportion of miners with onset of bronchitic symptoms was significantly elevated after 11 months of underground mining. Miners with incident symptoms had greater declines in FEV1 compared with those who did not (−65 vs −23 mL/yr, P < 0.05). At 24 months follow-up, FEV1 had declined an average 235 mL among the 26 miners who developed bronchitic symptoms and smoked, compared with a decline of 96 mL among the 132 nonsmoking miners without symptoms.

Conclusions: Among new coal miners, a sharp early decline in FEV1 is associated with the development of bronchitic symptoms.

From the Division of Respiratory Disease Studies (Drs Wang and Petsonk), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, West Virginia; Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Drs Wu and Peng), Wuhan, People's Republic of China; and Xuzhou Mining Group Company Ltd. (Drs Du, Y-D Li, S-K Li, and Han), Xuzhou, Jiangsu, People's Republic of China.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Address correspondence to: Edward L. Petsonk, MD, FCCP, NIOSH, Mail Stop H-G900.2, 1095 Willowdale Rd., Morgantown, WV 26505; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine