The Red Cell Distribution Width as a Sensitive Biomarker for Assessing the Pulmonary Function in Automobile Welders- A Cross Sectional Study 89-92
Associate Professor, Department of Pathology,
Sree Balaji Medical College, Chrompet,
Chennai 600 004, India.
Context: Welding fumes are considered as a risk factor for pulmonary diseases and a periodic spirometry is essential to evaluate the lung function of the welders. The Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) is a red cell measurement which is provided by automated haematology analyzers. It reflects the range of the red cell sizes which are measured within a sample. Few studies have shown a relationship between the RDW values and the changes in the spirometry.
Aims: This study was aimed at correlating the RDW% and the spirometry FEV1/FVC ratio (%) among automobile welders (cases). Further, we have analyzed the effect of smoking on the FEV1/FVC ratio% and the RDW% in the cases.
Settings and Design: A cross sectional study was done on 50 welders and 50 non-welding office workers (controls) who were working in an automobile industry on the outskirts of Chennai, india. All the cases were arc welders and the controls were from the same production unit, who had never worked as welders. This study was conducted during the period from March 2012 to May 2012.
Methods and Material: The demographic data, smoking habits, work history and the respiratory symptoms were gathered by using a standard self -administered questionnaire. A complete haemogram study was done and pulmonary function tests were performed for both the cases and the controls. All the cases and the controls were examined in the hospital outpatients room and subsequently, their blood samples were collected. The pulmonary function tests were conducted in the spirometry room in the hospital. The statistical analysis was done using the SPSS, version 15.0.
Results: A statistically significant inverse correlation was found between the RDW% and the FEV1/FVC ratio% in the cases.
Conclusions: RDW can be used as a biomarker to identify the pulmonary compromise in automobile welders.