Surveillance for early silicosis in high altitude miners using pulse oximetry

Joseph A. Donroe, Paola J. Maurtua-Neumann, Robert H. Gilman, Ana Teresa Acosta, Gene Cain, John E. Parker, Jaime Carlos Alvarez Carhuaricra, Juan Jose Retimozo Padilla, Daniel Mendoza, Mirko Zimic, David A.J. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Two cross-sectional studies in a high altitude region of Perú evaluated the role of pulse oximetry for detection of silicosis in high-altitude miners. In study one, exercise pulse oximetry and chest radiographs were used to evaluate 343 silica-exposed miners and 141 unexposed subjects for evidence of silicosis. Study 2 investigated the association between exercise oxygen saturation and silicosis in 32 non-silicotic and 65 silicotic miners. In study one, age (Odds Ratio [OR] 1.10, 95% Cofidence Interval (CI) 1.07-1.12) and resting oxygen saturation (OR 0.95, 95%CI 0.90-0.99) were associated with silicosis. In study two, years of mining employment (OR 1.14, 95%CI 1.05-1.23) and exercise oxygen saturation at 30% maximum heart rate (OR 0.86, 95%CI 0.75-0.99) were associated with silicosis. Hypoxemia at rest and with exercise is associated with silicosis in high altitude miners. Pulse oximetry should be further investigated as a screening tool for silicosis at high altitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Altitude
  • Pulse oximetry
  • Silicosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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