Diagnosis and management of chronic lung disease in deployed military personnel

Michael J. Morris*, Pedro F. Lucero, Thomas B. Zanders, Lisa L. Zacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Military personnel are a unique group of individuals referred to the pulmonary physician for evaluation. Despite accession standards that limit entrance into the military for individuals with various pre-existing lung diseases, the most common disorders found in the general population such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease remain frequently diagnosed. Military personnel generally tend to be a more physically fit population who are required to exercise on a regular basis and as such may have earlier presentations of disease than their civilian counterparts. Exertional dyspnea is a common complaint; establishing a diagnosis may be challenging given the subtle nature of symptoms and lack of specificity with pulmonary function testing. The conflicts over the past 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan have also given rise to new challenges for deployed military. Various respiratory hazards in the deployed environment include suspended geologic dusts, burn pits, vehicle exhaust emissions, industrial air pollution, and isolated exposure incidents and may give rise to both acute respiratory symptoms and chronic lung disease. In the evaluation of deployed military personnel, establishing the presence of actual pulmonary disease and the relationship of existing disease to deployment is an ongoing issue to both military and civilian physicians. This paper reviews the current evidence for chronic lung disease in the deployed military population and addresses any differences in diagnosis and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • airborne hazards
  • asthma
  • deployment
  • military personnel
  • particulate matter


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