The Gulf Long-Term Follow-up (GuLF) Study is a prospective cohort study of health effects associated with oil spill response and clean-up following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Disaster (DWH). As part of the study, spirometry testing of lung function was carried out in home visits across multiple states. Few studies have described factors associated with spirometry test failure in field-based settings.
Our objective was to identify what factors, if any, predict test failure among GuLF Study participants who completed spirometry testing in a non-traditional setting.
Trained examiners administered spirometry (May 2011–May 2013) to 10,019 participants living in US Gulf States (LA, MS, TX, AL, FL) using an Easy-on ultrasonic spirometer. We applied American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society quality criteria to determine quality test failure and identified factors predictive of failure using both a Stepwise and a LASSO model. We calculated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations of selected factors with test failure.
Among GuLF Study participants who conducted spirometry, self-reported African American/Black participants (OR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.23,1.56); men (OR:1.61, 95% CI: 1.41,1.83); and those making less than $20,000 per year (OR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.26,1.67) were more likely to fail quality testing, while those who were obese were less likely to fail (OR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.42,0.89).
Field-based studies involving spirometry should identify and account for participant factors that may influence test failure. Coaching that is tailored to those less likely to have experience with spirometry may help reduce test failure rates.