Screening tools for work-related asthma and their diagnostic accuracy: a systematic review protocol

Ngamjit Kongsupon*, Gareth Walters, Peymane Adab, Rachel Jordan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Introduction: Work-related asthma (WRA) refers to asthma caused by exposures at work (occupational asthma) and asthma made worse by work conditions (work-exacerbated asthma). WRA is common among working-age adults with asthma and impacts individual health, work–life and income but is often not detected by healthcare services. Earlier identification can lead to better health and employment outcomes. However, the optimal tool for screening and its effectiveness in practice is not well established. Screening tools may include whole questionnaires, questionnaire items, physiological measurements and/or immunological tests. Since the publication of the most contemporary WRA or occupational asthma-specific guidelines, further studies evaluating tools for identifying WRA have been performed. Our systematic review aims to summarise and compare the performance of screening tools for identifying WRA in both clinical and workplace settings. Methods and analysis: We will conduct a systematic review of observational and experimental studies (1975–2021) using MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL Plus, Web of Science, CDSR, DARE, HTA, CISDOC databases and grey literature. Two independent reviewers will screen the studies using predetermined criteria, extract data according to a schedule and assess study quality using the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Test Accuracy 2 tool. Screening tools and test accuracy measures will be summarised. Paired forest plots and summary receiver operating characteristic curves of sensitivities and specificities will be evaluated for heterogeneity between studies, using subgroup analyses, where possible. If the studies are sufficiently homogenous, we will use a bivariate random effect model for meta-analysis. A narrative summary and interpretation will be provided if meta-analysis is not appropriate. Ethics and dissemination: As this is a systematic review and does not involve primary data collection, formal ethical review is not required. We will disseminate our findings through open access peer-reviewed publication as well as through other academic and social media. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021246031.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere058054
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ open
Issue number9
Early online date23 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • asthma
  • occupational & industrial medicine
  • preventive medicine
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Health Services
  • Humans
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic
  • Adult
  • Asthma, Occupational/diagnosis
  • Workplace
  • Research Design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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