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Virginia Henderson International Nursing e-Repository > Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) > STTI Research Grant Recipient Reports - Abstracts > The CARE-Vog Study: Cardiorespiratory Assessment of Residents Exposed to Volcanic Smog (vog) at Kīlauea Volcano

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Category: Abstract
Type: Research Study
Title: The CARE-Vog Study: Cardiorespiratory Assessment of Residents Exposed to Volcanic Smog (vog) at Kīlauea Volcano
Author(s): Longo, Bernadette M.
Lead Author STTI Affiliation: Nu Iota
Author Details: Bernadette M. Longo, PhD, RN, CNL, APHN-BC Associate Professor Advanced Public Health Nurse - Board Certified Orvis School of Nursing, University of Nevada-Reno<> Office: 1-775-682-7149 FAX: 1-775-784-4262 Homepage:

Background and Purpose: The current eruption at the Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i, USA has persisted for three decades releasing volcanic air pollution called vog and exposing downwind areas of the island. A health survey in 2004 identified cardiorespiratory effects in residents of the vog-prone areas. Since 2008, volcanic activity has increased and subsequently produced higher amounts of vog resulting in exceedances of air quality standards. The purpose of this study was to re-assess the human-environmental interaction in the vog-exposed population.

Conceptual Framework: This study used an ecocentric nursing perspective and the Integrative Model for Environmental Health Research.

Design and Methods: An environmental-epidemiological design was used to compare vog-exposed and unexposed study groups as assessed by ambient levels of sulfur dioxide gas and fine sulfate particles. Health assessment data were collected from a systematic door-to-door sampling of 220 adult participants, ≥20 years of age, who resided for ≥7 years in the study areas. The study participation rate was 94%. Prevalence was estimated for cardiorespiratory signs, and self-reported symptoms and diseases. Logistic regression analysis estimated effect measures (odds ratios) between exposed and unexposed groups considering potential confounding by age, gender, race, smoking, dust exposure, and body mass index. Student’s t-tests compared mean differences in blood pressure (BP) parameters, pulse rate and oximetry. Qualitative descriptions of perceived effects from the increase in vog were also collected.

Results: There were statistically significant positive associations between vog exposure and increased odds of daily cough, phlegm, rhinorrhea, sore or dry throat, shortness of breath, sinus congestion, continual wheezing, eye and skin irritation, and hypertension. The magnitude of the associations increased from the previous investigation’s findings during lower amounts of vog. Significantly higher average systolic blood pressure (p = .045), diastolic blood pressure (p = .002), and pulse oximetry (p = .008) were detected in exposed participants. Half of the study participants perceived that Kilauea’s current eruption has negatively affected their health. Further concerns dealt with aesthetic, agricultural, livestock or financial impacts that had occurred since 2008.

Conclusions and Recommendations: These findings support the hypothesis that exposure to sulfurous volcanic air pollution is associated with cardiorespiratory health effects in populations residing near degassing volcanoes. Public concern remains at the Kīlauea Volcano. This study provides additional evidence for public health efforts by interdisciplinary teams, community participation in health and health policy initiatives, as well as environmental planning for future generations. 

Keywords: environmental health
air pollutants adverse effects
epidemiologic methods
public health nursing
Repository Posting Date: 14-Sep-2012
Date of Publication: 14-Sep-2012
Sponsors: Sigma Theta Tau International
Description: Testimonial: The Sigma Theta Tau International Small Grant was instrumental for me to conduct this field-based research study on a vulnerable population. Investigations are scarce on associated health effects in the 500 million people who reside near active volcanoes. This work demonstrates nursing’s contribution to increase scientific knowledge through research on an emerging global health issue, along with advocacy and collaborative efforts by nurses to address environmental health concerns of populations.
Note: This is an abstract-only submission. If the author has submitted a full-text item based on this abstract, you may find it by browsing the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository by author. If author contact information is available in this abstract, please feel free to contact him or her with your queries regarding this submission. Alternatively, please contact the conference host, journal, or publisher (according to the circumstance) for further details regarding this item.
Appears in Collections: STTI Research Grant Recipient Reports - Abstracts

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