service information (e.g., branch of service, rank, and unit), self-reported exposure information, up to 10 symptoms, and up to 10 diagnoses. Although these data are useful from a clinical perspective they are limited for use as research data because participants are self-selected, protocols for diagnosis have not been standardized, and procedures for recording information on the code sheet are not consistent across facilities. In addition, in April 1996 a revised code sheet was implemented but it does not allow the aggregation of obtained data pre-and postimplementation.

Descriptive Statistics

Of the nearly 697,000 individuals deployed to the Persian Gulf War, approximately 535,000 are now eligible for care through DVA. The remainder may still receive care through the DoD. Of those veterans eligible for DVA care, about 230,000 have received DVA outpatient care and more than 33,000 veterans have been hospitalized in DVA medical centers.

Table 1 displays some of the basic demographic and military service characteristics of 83,197 individuals who served in the Persian Gulf War and who have participated in either the DVA or the DoD special diagnostic program.

DVA Persian Gulf Registry and Uniform Case Assessment Protocol

Dr. Frances Murphy presented information about participants in the DVA PGR/UCAP. According to Dr. Murphy, the code sheet revision implemented in 1996 makes it impossible to aggregate complaint, symptom, and diagnostic data for the total population of veterans whose data are recorded in DVA PGR/UCAP. The revision does, however, allow the capture of more information than could be captured on the original code sheet. There is a greatly expanded self-report exposure history questionnaire. In addition, although the original recording from allowed up to 3 symptoms and up to 3 diagnoses to be listed, the revised form allows expanded recording of up to 10 symptoms and up to 10 diagnoses. Table 2 presents information indicating that 98 percent of veterans have 10 or fewer complaints. Looking at the number of veterans with 3 or fewer complaints encompasses only 55.4 percent of the population seen. By placing the cutoff at 3 complaints, Dr. Murphy hypothesized that DVA may have missed as many as 50 percent of the symptoms that the first 52,835 individuals through the registry would have reported.

TABLE 1 Demographic and Military Service Characteristics of the Conflict Veterans Participating in the DoD CCEP, the DVA PGR/UCAP, and both CCEP and PGR/UCAP

 

Percent

Demographic or Military Service Characteristic

All PGW Veteransa (N = 696,530)

CCEPb (N = 27,747)

PGR/UCAPc (N = 57,253)

CCEP and PGRd (N = 83,197)

Age Group (yr) (1991)

 

 

 

 

Less than 25

42.0%

24.2%

37.0%

33.1%

25–34

39.7

48.9

34.6

39.4

35–44

15.5

23.7

21.5

21.9

45–54

2.6

2.9

6.2

5.0

55–64

0.2

0.2

0.7

0.6

Over 65

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0



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