East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry leads the way in lung function tests

MARTINS FERRY — East Ohio Regional Hospital is one of only 16 facilities nationwide and the only facility in Ohio providing companies and their employees with spirometry testing approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Spirometry is the most common of the lung function tests. These tests look at how well your lungs work. Breathing in and out can be affected by lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis.

“By law, coal mine operators are required to provide Spirometry testing to current and newly employed coal miners, and they have to use a medical facility approved by NIOSH,” said Becky Maruca, project director and outreach coordinator — Respiratory and Occupational Lung Disease Clinic. “All of the staff administering the pulmonary functioning testing at EORH had to undergo special training to become certified to perform the spirometry testing. We are the only testing site in the region where a miner can receive both NIOSH-approved radiology testing and Spirometry testing. This is a tremendous service to the public.”

The spirometry testing serves as a baseline to determine the pulmonary function of a worker and then can be used to compare results in following years to determine if any pulmonary function has changed through the course of employment in a mine. The spirometry testing and a respiratory assessment are covered by the mining company at no cost to the mine worker.

If you are exposed to asbestos, coal, cadmium, coke oven emissions or cotton dust through the course of your work, then U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations require spirometry testing as a part of your employer’s medical surveillance program. For employees who are exposed to levels of formaldehyde and benzene that necessitate the use of a respirator, pre-assignment, and annual pulmonary function testing is also mandatory. Pre-assignment testing ensures that you do not have an existing condition that would be exacerbated by the use of a respirator or exposure to respiratory hazards. Ongoing testing is used to confirm that your personal protective equipment and the workplace’s other safety measures are working effectively. For more information or to schedule an appointment log onto www.ovmc-eorh.com or call 740-633-1100.