To examine health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and World Trade Center (WTC) cough syndrome conditions in male firefighters who retired due to a 9/11-related pulmonary disability.
From 3/1/2008 to 1/31/2009, we contacted 275 disability-retired firefighters and compared their HRQoL and current aerodigestive conditions to those from WTC-exposed non-disabled retired and active firefighters. Relationships between HRQoL and explanatory variable(s) were examined using multivariable linear regression models.
Mean physical component summary (PCS) scores were lowest in disabled retirees compared with non-disabled retirees and actives: 36.4 (9.6), 49.4 (8.7), and 53.1 (5.1), respectively (P < 0.0001). Mean mental component summary (MCS) scores were closer: 44.5 (11.9), 48.1 (8.5), and 48.7 (7.4), respectively (P < 0.0001). In multivariable models, after adjustment for many factors, PCS scores were not associated with early WTC arrival, but were inversely associated with disability retirement and all WTC cough syndrome conditions. MCS scores were inversely associated with early WTC arrival and most WTC cough syndrome conditions, but were not associated with disability retirement.
WTC cough syndrome conditions predict lower HRQoL scores even 8 years after exposure, independent of retirement status. These data suggest that monitoring physical conditions of individuals with occupational exposures might help identify those at risk for impaired HRQoL.