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Marked Tachypnea in Siblings With Chronic Beryllium Disease due to Copper-Beryllium Alloy*

Susan M. Tarlo, MB BS, FCCP; Kunuk Rhee, MD; Elizabeth Powell, MD, FCCP; Emad Amer, MD, FCCP; Lee Newman, MD, FCCP; Gary Liss, MD; Norman Jones, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Toronto Western Hospital (Drs. Tarlo and Rhee), Toronto, Ontario; William Osler Health Science Centre, Brampton Campus (Dr. Powell), Brampton, Ontario; Credit Valley Hospital (Dr. Amer), Mississauga, Ontario; McMaster University Health Sciences Centre (Dr. Jones), Hamilton, Ontario; Ontario Ministry of Labour (Dr. Liss), Canada, and National Jewish Medical and Research Center (Dr. Newman), Denver CO.

Correspondence to: Susan M. Tarlo, MB BS, FCCP, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst St, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8, Canada; e-mail: susan.tarlo@utoronto.ca



Chest. 2001;119(2):647-650. doi:10.1378/chest.119.2.647
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Two biological sisters working at the same factory for > 9 years developed chronic beryllium disease (CBD) from a copper-beryllium alloy. Both had marked tachypnea (36 breaths/min and 45 breaths/min at rest, respectively), persisting over 8 years. Ventilation during exercise (assessed in one sibling) was grossly excessive (57 L/min, expected 23 L/min) with a respiratory rate of 64 breaths/min even with normal baseline routine pulmonary function tests. Blood beryllium lymphocyte transformation test and lung biopsies confirmed the diagnosis. No other cases of CBD have been reported from this plant among about 120 workers. These cases support the genetic basis for berylliosis and illustrate the marked tachypnea that may accompany this disease.

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