UBC Faculty Research and Publications

“Bayis Ilh Tus – a strong breath” a community-based research project to estimate the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in remote and rural first nations communities in Canada: research protocol Turner, Justin; Holyk, Travis; Bartlett, Karen H.; Rathburn, Benna; Karlen, Barbara; Ervin, Francis; Wilson, Jennifer; Camp, Pat


Background Respiratory health conditions appear to be more common among First Nations people versus non-First Nations people in Canada. However, the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its associated risk factors in First Nations communities are unknown. This project aims to estimate the prevalence of COPD in several First Nations communities in British Columbia, Canada and to characterize respiratory symptoms, COPD risk factors, and healthcare utilization. Methods This project is approved by both the University of British Columbia and Carrier Sekani Family Services Research Ethics Boards. We will randomly sample 220 adults, 30 years and older, from 11 participating First Nations. Each participant will complete pre- and post-bronchodilator spirometry tests and the adapted American Thoracic Society Epidemiological Questionnaire with items about smoking history, respiratory symptoms, co-morbidities, and exposures, in order to identify the presence of COPD and its associated individual, occupational, and community risk factors. Homes will be assessed for air quality measures including particulate matter, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and humidity. Health care utilization will be abstracted from the electronic medical record. Discussion This is the first project in Canada to estimate the prevalence of COPD in First Nations communities using a random-sampling approach to recruitment. Additionally, although this study will collect detailed information on smoking history, we will also characterize past and current risk factors beyond cigarette smoking. Finally, our methodology ensures that the benefits to the communities are realized during the study period. Individual results will be shared with individuals and health providers to facilitate care. Air quality results will be sent to each Nation’s governing council to facilitate remediation where necessary. Trial registration The study has been retrospectively registered at clinicaltrials.gov ( NCT04105088 ).

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