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High-resolution CT in simple coal workers' pneumoconiosis. Lack of correlation with pulmonary function tests and arterial blood gas values. FREE TO VIEW

L C Collins; S Willing; R Bretz; M Harty; E Lane; W H Anderson
Chest. 1993;104(4):1156-1162. doi:10.1378/chest.104.4.1156
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We examined 21 miners by means of standard chest radiography, high-resolution computerized tomography (HRCT), pulmonary function tests, and resting arterial blood gas levels. Using the ILO/UC classification of pneumoconiosis, 7 miners had category 1/0 or 2/1 simple coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP). By HRCT, nodules were identified in 12 miners; 4 of 9 were classified as category 0/0 CWP; 2 of 5, 0/1 CWP; 5 of 6, 1/0 CWP; and 1 of 1, 2/1 CWP by chest radiograph. Focal emphysema was identified by HRCT in 7 miners; 4 of 9 were classified as 0/0 CWP; 2 of 5, 0/1 CWP; and 1 of 6, 1/0 CWP by standard chest radiography. Four miners with definite nodules confirmed by HRCT had focal emphysema, while three without nodules had focal emphysema. Pulmonary function testing was not different between miners with or without CWP by standard chest radiography, nor was it different between miners with or without definite nodules evidenced by HRCT. No difference in resting oxygenation was found between any group of miners. The presence of focal emphysema confirmed by HRCT did not significantly affect pulmonary function tests on resting arterial blood gas values. There was, however, a significantly lower FEV1 and mean forced expiratory flow during the middle half of forced vital capacity with lifetime nonsmoking miners. The presence of CWP on chest radiography was significantly correlated with smoking cigarettes but not the years of mining. The presence of nodules on HRCT approached a significant correlation with cigarette smoking, but focal emphysema did not. For detecting evidence of coal dust accumulation in lung parenchyma and identifying focal emphysema, HRCT was more sensitive than standard chest radiography. However, despite earlier detection of parenchymal abnormalities, abnormal pulmonary function attributable to coal dust could not be identified.

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