Characteristics of workers attending the pneumoconiosis clinic for silicosis assessment in Hong Kong: retrospective study

Hong Kong Med J. 2001 Dec;7(4):343-9.


Objective: To describe and analyse the baseline characteristics of workers attending the pneumoconiosis clinic for assessment of silicosis.

Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study.

Setting: Outpatient clinic.

Patients: One thousand and fifty-six patients with silica dust exposure attending the pneumoconiosis clinic for compensation assessment.

Main outcome measures: Baseline demographic characteristics, lung function parameters, and radiographic findings.

Results: Six hundred and forty-eight patients were diagnosed with silicosis, of which 10 were female. Excluding the data on female patients, the mean duration of dust exposure was 24.2 years. The majority of patients were involved in caisson work and stone splitting. Most newly diagnosed patients had simple silicosis. Less than a quarter (24.8%) had progressive massive fibrosis. Lung function parameters at diagnosis were within the normal range. Pulmonary tuberculosis remained an important co-existing disease.

Conclusion: The major cause of silicosis in Hong Kong is chronic silica dust exposure in the construction industry. Simple silicosis predominated at diagnosis, with normal lung function parameters seen in the majority of patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pneumoconiosis / diagnosis*
  • Pneumoconiosis / epidemiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Silicon Dioxide / adverse effects*
  • Silicosis / diagnosis*
  • Silicosis / epidemiology*


  • Silicon Dioxide