Asbestosis

Alternative Names

Pulmonary fibrosis – from asbestos exposure; Interstitial pneumonitis – from asbestos exposure

Definition of Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a respiratory disease brought on by inhaling asbestos fibers.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause scar tissue (fibrosis) to form inside the lung. Scarred lung tissue does not expand and contract normally, and cannot perform gas exchange.

Signs and tests

When listening to the chest with a stethoscope (auscultation), the doctor may detect a crackling sound.

Treatment

There is no cure available. Stopping further exposure to asbestos is essential. To ease symptoms, postural drainage, chest percussion, and vibration can help remove secretions from the lungs.

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome depends on the duration and extent of the asbestos exposure. Patients who develop malignant mesothelioma have a poor probable outcome, with 75% of those affected dying within 1 year.

Review

Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine UMDNJ-NJMS, Attending Physician in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 4/24/2009

Respiratory system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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