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Asbestos-related pleuropulmonary disease

Talmadge E King, Jr, MD
Section Editor
Kevin R Flaherty, MD, MS
Deputy Editor
Helen Hollingsworth, MD


Asbestos is the general term for a group of naturally occurring fibers composed of hydrated magnesium silicates. The spectrum of pleuropulmonary disorders associated with asbestos exposure includes [1]:


Pleural disease (benign asbestos effusion, focal and diffuse benign pleural plaques)

Malignancies (non-small cell and small cell carcinoma of the lung as well as malignant mesothelioma)

Asbestosis specifically refers to the pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. The disease is characterized by slowly progressive, diffuse pulmonary fibrosis. Asbestosis remains a significant clinical problem despite substantial reductions in occupational asbestos exposure, due to occupational exposure that occurred years earlier [2].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 14, 2016.
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