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The impact of deployment on COPD in active duty military personnel.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Army

Sponsoring Office:

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Army

Release Date/Publication: November 01, 2014

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Military Health System (MHS) Data Repository

Secondary DoD Data Source:


PURPOSE: To identify trends in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnoses among active duty U.S. military personnel based on deployment history and whether International Classification of Disease, 9th edition (ICD-9) coding meet criteria for the diagnosis of COPD.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review using the electronic medical system was conducted for military personnel diagnosed with COPD based on ICD-9 codes for emphysema or chronic obstructive lung disease with at least three qualifying outpatient COPD-coded encounters. Clinical symptoms, smoking history, pulmonary function testing, and radiographs obtained during the diagnostic workup were reviewed. The established diagnosis of COPD was analyzed in relation to deployment.

RESULTS: A total of 371 patients were identified during the study period (2005-2009). Of these patients, 194 (52.3%) deployed, whereas 177 (47.7%) did not deploy to Southwest Asia since 2003. Thirty-four percent had no documented smoking history despite the diagnosis of COPD. Airway obstruction was identified by spirometry in only 67% of individuals diagnosed with COPD. No statistically significant differences in pulmonary function testing values were identified between those deployed and nondeployed individuals.

CONCLUSION: Despite evidence of increased respiratory symptoms in deployed military personnel, the impact of deployment on increased diagnosis of COPD or severity of disease appears minimal.


Matthews T, Abraham J, Zacher LL, Morris MJ. The impact of deployment on COPD in active duty military personnel. Mil Med. 2014 Nov;179(11):1273-8.

Last Updated: February 21, 2019
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