Respiratory therapists are at a high risk for developing respiratory disorders, according to a survey of 275 respiratory therapists and 628 physiotherapists.
The findings showed that respiratory therapists were at least 2 times as likely as physiotherapists to report being awakened by difficulty breathing, receiving an asthma diagnosis after entering the profession, or having an asthma attack or wheeze. Workrelated factors leading to asthma included cleaning the instruments with disinfectionts and treating patients with aerosolized ribavirin. The biggest indicator was the use of an oxygen tent or hood to deliver aerosolized agents, which raised the risk of asthma 8-fold. (The findings were reported in Chest, October 2004.)