CT assessment of silicosis in exposed workers

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987 Mar;148(3):509-14. doi: 10.2214/ajr.148.3.509.


For evaluation of the clinical usefulness of CT of the thorax in workers exposed to silica, 58 workers with long-term exposure to silica in the granite and foundry industries of the Eastern Townships of Quebec were examined. CT scans were compared with standard posteroanterior chest radiographs by using the International Labour Office 1980 grading system for silicosis. Six areas of the lung in each patient were assessed by both techniques for profusion (number) of opacities (small nodules), coalescence, and the presence of large opacities. CT scans and chest radiographs yielded similar average scores for detection of opacities. CT identified significantly more coalescence and large opacities in patients with simple silicosis. In patients with complicated silicosis, CT results were comparable with those of chest radiographs. CT of the thorax in workers exposed to silica does not identify more patients with minimal parenchymal disease, but it does detect earlier changes of coalescence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quebec
  • Silicosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*