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Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia

Print version ISSN 1806-3713

Abstract

AGUIAR FILHO, Antônio Soares et al. Asthma prevalence among employees of a university hospital as evaluated using a European Union respiratory health questionnaire. J. bras. pneumol. [online]. 2005, vol.31, n.5, pp. 390-397. ISSN 1806-3713.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1806-37132005000500006.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of bronchial asthma among university hospital employees between the ages of 20 and 44 based on the criteria established in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. METHODS: A descriptive, prospective, randomized, stratified prevalence study was conducted, in which questionnaires completed between April and October of 2002 by 351 employees of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Federal University at Pernambuco) Hospital das Clínicas were evaluated. For sample characterization, the independent variables used were the signs and symptoms of asthma, and one dependent variable (physician-diagnosed asthma, characterized by data related to attacks occurring within the 12 months preceding the study) was included. RESULTS: The prevalence of asthma was 10.7%. Nocturnal dyspnea, chest tightness and nocturnal cough were the most frequent symptoms, although statistically significant correlations with asthma were found exclusively among females (p = 0.03, p = 0.04 and p = 0.001, respectively). Nocturnal dyspnea, wheezing within the last 12 months, dyspnea with wheezing and the use of asthma medication were more frequent among individuals between 20 and 29 years of age. The last two variables presented statistical significance (p < 0.001). Undertreatment of asthma was identified in 35 (10.7%) of the cases. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this pioneering study show that asthma prevalence in a sample composed of employees of a university hospital located in a developing country was slightly higher than that found in the literature and suggest that working in a university hospital does not reduce the frequency of undertreatment.

Keywords : Asthma [diagnosis]; Asthma [epidemiology]; Hospitals; university; Questionnnaires.

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