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November 14, 1980

Respiratory Disability in Coal Miners

Author Affiliations

Beckley, WVa

JAMA. 1980;244(19):2157-2158. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310190013005

To the Editor.—  My experience with blood gas analysis in evaluating respiratory disability among coal miners differs substantially from that of Morgan et al. The exercise protocol used by my laboratory, which is more suitable for the often sedentary subjects studied, is less abrupt than that of Morgan et al. After a light warm-up, two to five graded levels of tread-mill exercise are given, to a measured oxygen uptake of up to 20 to 25 cc/kg/min, if possible. Increments are based on each patient's tolerance and the examiner's clinical judgment, with 30 to 40 minutes' rest between levels. Determination of arterial blood level is obtained after 5 1/2 minutes of a six-minute exercise and is immediately analyzed simultaneously in three analyzers (Po2 and Pco2 electrodes, one model 113 and two model 813 analyzers).Most of the miners referred here by the Department of Labor (DOL) are from southern