Author(s): Burhan H.; Young R.; Walker P.P.; Byrne T.; Oelbaum S.; Peat R.; Furlong J.; Renwick S.; Elkin T.
Source: Chest; Feb 2019; vol. 155 (no. 2); p. 279-287
Publication Date: Feb 2019
Publication Type(s): Article
Available at Chest – from ScienceDirect
Available at Chest – from Edge Hill Aintree LIRC (lib302411) Local Print Collection [location] : Edge Hill Aintree LIRC.
Abstract:Background: Heroin smoking is associated with deprivation, early onset severe emphysema, premature morbidity and mortality, and high use of health care, but individuals engage poorly with traditional health services. Method(s): In this cross-sectional study, we screened a population of heroin smokers, prescribed opiate substitution therapy by community drug services, for airway disease. We assessed drug exposure, respiratory symptoms, health status, and COPD prevalence. Subjects completed spirometry, completed Medical Research Council (MRC) Dyspnea Scale, COPD Assessment Tool (CAT) questionnaire, recorded drug exposure, and provided feedback. Result(s): A total of 753 people (73% of those approached) completed screening, with 260 participants (35%) having COPD using FEV1/FVC < 0.7 and 293 (39%) participants having COPD using the lower limit of normal. A further 112 participants (15%) had asthma-COPD overlap (ACO) with features of COPD and asthma. Compared with those with normal spirometry, participants with COPD were more breathless (MRC score 3.1 vs 1.9; P <.001) and had worse health status (CAT score 22.9 vs 13.4; P <.001), respectively. Individuals with COPD had smoked cigarettes (P <.001), heroin (P <.001), and crack (P =.03) for longer and were more likely to still be smoking heroin (P <.01). Feedback was strongly positive, with 92% of respondents happy for other health-care appointments to be colocated with drug key worker appointments. Conclusion(s): Most heroin smokers had COPD or ACO, most commonly mild to moderate disease. In high-risk areas, screening this population provides an opportunity to reduce symptoms and risk. Anchoring respiratory health screening to drug center appointments delivers high completion and satisfaction and is an appropriate model for screening other hard-to-reach populations.
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