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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Silicosis diagnosis

10/06/2008

Question:

Hi, I would like to know how is silicosis diagnosed? and could there be a case of undetected silicosis by x-ray?

Answer:

Silicosis is diagnosed when a person has a long-standing exposure to silica dust (for example, sandblasters or foundry workers), a chest x-ray or CT scan compatible with silicosis, and an absence of other diseases that can mimic silicosis. Most cases of silicosis that are severe enough to cause symptoms will have abnormalities on the regular chest x-ray, but some patients may have abnormalities only visible on the chest CT scan. Therefore, a chest CT is often obtained in patients with silica exposure and symptoms or pulmonary function test abnormalities in the setting of a normal chest x-ray.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University