Respiratory findings in a nursing home population

Eugenija Zuskin, Jadranka Mustajbegovic, E. Neil Schachter, Nada Turcic, Nina Smolej-Narancic, Josipa Kern, Zijad Durakovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The prevalence of respiratory abnormalities was studied in an elderly nursing home population. This study investigated 475 female and 147 male individuals living in five nursing homes in Zagreb, Croatia. Chronic respiratory symptoms were recorded using the British Medical Research Council questionnaire. Ventilatory capacity was measured with maximum expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) curves on which forced vital capacity (FVC), one-second forced expiratory volume (FEV1), maximum expiratory flow rate at 50% FVC (FEF50), and maximum expiratory flow rate at 25% FVC (FEF25) were measured. A high rate of chronic respiratory illness and symptoms was found in both female and male nursing home residents. The highest rates were for asthma, chronic cough, and for chest tightness. Odds ratios (OR) showed that smoking and the length of employment were significant risk factors among men. Pulmonary function testing demonstrated a decrease in measured values compared to predicted (p < 0.01). This was particularly pronounced for FEF50 and FEF25, suggesting obstructive changes in smaller airways. Regression coefficients were significant for smoking and employment primarily for FEF50 and FEF25. Our data suggest that older individuals residing in nursing homes exhibit an excess of respiratory symptoms, and lung function abnormalities. Smoking and past employment are important risk factors for these respiratory findings. Medical surveillance and preventive strategies should be implemented for this high risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Lung function
  • Nursing homes
  • Older populations
  • Respiratory symptoms


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