Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in veterinary echocardiographers: A cross-sectional study on prevalence and risk factors

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Objective Assess the relationship between work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) and performing echocardiograms (ECHOS) in veterinarians with a cardiology focus. Methods Prospective study. A survey was submitted to the ACVIM veterinary cardiology list-serve regarding pain associated with performing ECHOS (ECHOPain). Associations of demographic and work habit variables with ECHOPain and WRMSD were evaluated with logistic regression. Results Respondents included 198 of 487 (41%) members, evenly divided in gender. Most (69%) were 31-50 years old. Almost all (96%) currently perform ECHOS, usually 4-5 ECHOS/week (74%), every week except vacation (93%). ECHOPain was reported by 87 people (44%), which was classified as mild/occasional in 77%, frequent/moderate in 21%, and frequent/severe in 2%. Of those with ECHOPain, 52% reported ECHOS as the sole cause, 31% reported ECHOS aggravating pain from a pre-existing problem, and 17% reported unrelated pain. The most common areas of pain were neck (54%), shoulder (52%), wrist (42%), and back (35%) with 78% reporting pain at 2 or more sites. Pain impaired job performance in 36%, required sick leave or disability in 12%, required reduction in ECHOS/day in 36%, and affected lifestyle in 22%. Ten percent of people have been diagnosed with WRMSD, of which 21% have a permanent disability. Both gender and weeks/year predicted pain with ECHOS (χ (3) = 11.38, P = 0.01). The odds ratio for females versus males with ECHOPain was 2.23. Conclusion ECHOPain is common (44%) in veterinary echocardiographers, is significantly associated with gender, and affects job performance for over one-third of pain sufferers. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. 2

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Journal of Veterinary Cardiology

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