- Asbestos = mixture of silicates of iron, magnesium, nickel, cadmium and aluminium.
- Uncommon RLD
- Asbestos bodies on CXR is a ‘warning sign’ and shows exposure – not diagnostic of disease.
- Mesothelioma = cancer of mesothelium (protective lining that covers lung) – commonly occurs at pleura as a result of asbestos exposure.
|Asbestos bodies||Light||Normal||Normal||None||Evidence of asbestos exposure only|
|Light||Pleural thickening (parietal pleura) and calcification (also in diaphragmatic pleura)||Mild restrictive ventilatory defect||Rare, occasional mild effort dyspnoea||No other sequelae|
|Effusion||First two decades following exposure||Effusion||Restrictive||Pleuritic pain, dyspnoea||Often recurrent|
|Bilateral diffuse pleural thickening||Light/moderate||Bilateral diffuse thickening (of both parietal and visceral pleura) more than 5mm thick, extending over ¼ of chest wall||Restrictive ventilatory defect||Effort dyspnoea||May progress in absence of further exposure|
|Mesothelioma||Light (interval of 20-40 years from exposure to disease)||Pleural effusion, usually unilateral||Restrictive ventilatory defect||Pleuritic pain, dyspnoea||Median survival 2 years|
|Asbestosis||Heavy (interval of 5-10 years from exposure to disease)||Diffuse bilateral streaky shadows, honeycomb lung (interstitial disease)||Severe restrictive ventilatory defect and reduced gas transfer||Progressive dyspnoea||Poor, progression in some cases after exposure cases|
|Asbestos-related carcinoma of the bronchus||The features of asbestosis, bilateral diffuse pleural thickening or bilateral pleural plaques plus those of bronchial carcinoma||Fatal|