• Clinical science

Rare pneumoconioses

Abstract

Pneumoconioses are a group of restrictive interstitial lung diseases caused by the inhalation of certain dusts, which are often associated with mining and agriculture. Inhalation of inorganic dust – especially chronic, occupational exposure – causes an inflammatory reaction in the lung parenchyma, which may lead to symptoms such as cough and breathlessness. Typically, disease manifestation occurs after many years of exposure. An occupational history of patients with findings indicative of interstitial disease suffice to diagnose the condition. Chest x-ray serves as an adjunct diagnostic tool and allows the scarring associated with the disease to be visualized. There is no effective targeted therapy for pneumoconioses; management involves avoidance of triggers, supplemental oxygen, and supportive therapy. Prevention through screening programs, use of masks and adequate ventilation, and/or change of jobs can help lower the impact of the condition.

This card only covers rare forms of pneumoconiosis. For asbestosis and silicosis, see the respective cards.

Overview

Types of rare pneumoconioses

Type Cause Population at risk Characteristic features Chest x-ray
Aluminosis
  • Aluminum dust
  • Welders (e.g., automobile industry)
  • Nodular or diffuse infiltrates (predominantly affects the upper lung fields)
  • Small cystic radiolucencies (“honeycombing”)
Anthracosis
  • Carbon dust and sooty air
  • City dwellers
  • Coal miners
Berylliosis
  • Workers in high-tech fields , where alloys are often utilized
  • Noncaseating granulomatous disease affecting the lungs and skin
  • Chronic beryllium disease: Progressive dyspnea may occur within a few days of high-grade exposure.
Pulmonary siderosis
  • Welders, iron miners, foundry workers
  • Small, round, patchy shadows on x-ray

References:[1][2][3][4][5]

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  • 3. Smolková P, Nakládalová M, Tichý T, Hampalová M, Kolek V. Occupational pulmonary aluminosis: a case report. Ind Health. 2014; 52(2): pp. 147–151. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.2012-0154.
  • 4. Mirsadraee M. Anthracosis of the lungs: etiology, clinical manifestations and diagnosis: a review. Tanaffos. 2014; 13(4): pp. 1–13. pmid: 25852756.
  • 5. Stark P, Muller NL, King Jr TE, Hollingsworth H, Lee SI. Imaging of Occupational Lung Diseases. In: Post TW, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/imaging-of-occupational-lung-diseases. Last updated February 10, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2017.
last updated 04/13/2018
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