Methods: Within the scope of the Phase II of the GERIA project 17 nursing homes from Lisbon were randomly selected. Every nursing home resident who met the inclusion criteria (to be at least 65 years old and to reside in the nursing home for more than 6 months) and did not present any contraindication for lung function tests was invited to answer a respiratory health questionnaire administered by an interviewer and to perform a spirometry. A descriptive analysis was carried out in order to assess the frequency of asthma, wheezing in the previous 12 months, chronic bronchitis and spirometric changes. Cohen´s kappa coefficient was used to evaluate the agreement between symptoms and spirometric parameters.
Results: The analysed sample included the 242 residents who performed a validated spirometry and a bronchodilator test. The majority (78.5%) were females with a mean age of 83 years (SD 7 years). Wheezing in the previous 12 months and asthma were reported by 38 (15.7%) and 22 (9.2%) residents, respectively. Chronic bronchitis symptoms occurred in 16 (6.6%). In the surveyed sample 71 (30%) residents presented a FEV1 < 80% and 90 (37%) a FEV1/FVC < 0.70, after bronchodilator. Twenty (8.3%) residents had a significant post-bronchodilator improvement of the FEV1(>12% and > 200 ml). No agreement was found between symptoms and spirometric parameters.
Conclusions: Spirometry seems to be an important tool to complement the questionnaire assessment in this age group as under-report of respiratory disease exists. Moreover it provides a better characterization of the obstructive lung diseases (PTDC/SAU-SAP/116563/2010).