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Longitudinal Spirometry Among Patients in a Treatment Program for Community Members With World Trade Center–Related Illness

Liu, Mengling PhD; Qian, Meng MS; Cheng, Qinyi PhD; Berger, Kenneth I. MD; Shao, Yongzhao PhD; Turetz, Meredith MD; Kazeros, Angeliki MD; Parsia, Sam MD; Goldring, Roberta M. MD; Caplan-Shaw, Caraleess MD; Elena Fernandez-Beros, Maria PhD; Marmor, Michael PhD; Reibman, Joan MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: October 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 10 - p 1208–1213
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31826bb78e
Original Articles

Objective: The course of lung function in community members exposed to World Trade Center (WTC) dust and fumes remains undefined. We studied longitudinal spirometry among patients in the WTC Environmental Health Center (WTCEHC) treatment program.

Methods: Observational study of 946 WTCEHC patients with repeated spirometry measures analyzed on the population as a whole and stratified by smoking status, initial spirometry pattern, and WTC-related exposure category.

Results: Improvement in forced vital capacity (54.4 mL/yr; 95% confidence interval, 45.0 to 63.8) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (36.8 mL/yr; 95% confidence interval, 29.3 to 44.3) was noted for the population as a whole. Heavy smokers did not improve. Spirometry changes differed depending on initial spirometry pattern and exposure category.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate spirometry improvement in select populations suggesting reversibility in airway injury and reinforcing the importance of continued treatment.

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

From the Departments of Population Health (Drs Liu, Cheng, Shao, Marmor, and Qian), Environmental Medicine (Drs Liu, Cheng, Shao, Marmor, and Reibman, and Ms Qian), and Medicine (Drs Berger, Turetz, Kazeros, Parsia, Goldring, Caplan-Shaw, Fernandez-Beros, Marmor, and Reibman), New York University School of Medicine.

Address correspondence to: Joan Reibman, MD, 550 1st Ave, Room NB7N24, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016. (

This study was funded by American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund, City of New York, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)–National Institute for Occupational Services and Health (NIOSH) 1E11OH009630, CDC-NIOSH contracts 200–2011-39391 and 200–2011-39397, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) center grant ES00260, CDC Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) 200–2011-39413, and National Institutes of Health–NIEHS T32 ES07267.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Disclosure: The authors have no potential conflicts of interest.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine