Clinical findings among patients with respiratory symptoms related to moisture damage exposure at the workplace: the SAMDAW study

Pia Nynäs, Sarkku Vilpas, Elina Kankare, Jussi Karjalainen, Lauri Lehtimäki, Jura Numminen, Antti Tikkakoski, Leenamaija Kleemola, Jukka Uitti

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    Background: Respiratory tract symptoms are associated with workplace moisture damage (MD). The focus of this observational clinical study was patients with workplace MD-associated symptoms, to evaluate the usefulness of different clinical tests in diagnostics in secondary healthcare with a special interest in improving the differential diagnostics between asthma and laryngeal dysfunction. Methods: In patients referred because of workplace MD-associated respiratory tract symptoms, we sought to systematically assess a wide variety of clinical findings. Results: New-onset asthma was diagnosed in 30% of the study patients. Laryngeal dysfunction was found in 28% and organic laryngeal changes in 22% of the patients, and these were common among patients both with and without asthma. Most of the patients (85%) reported a runny or stuffy nose, and 11% of them had chronic rhinosinusitis. Atopy was equally as common as in the general population. Conclusions: As laryngeal changes were rather common, we recommend proper differential diagnostics with lung function testing and investigations of the larynx and its functioning, when necessary, in cases of prolonged workplace MD-associated symptoms. Chronic rhinosinusitis among these patients was not uncommon. Based on this study, allergy testing should not play a major role in the examination of these patients.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1112
    JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Asthma
    • Dampness
    • Irritable larynx
    • Laryngeal dysfunction
    • Moisture damage
    • Mold
    • Respiratory symptoms
    • Workplace

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health Informatics
    • Health Policy
    • Health Information Management
    • Leadership and Management


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