Silicosis, Complex

Silicosis, Complex

Kimberly E. Sanchez, MD

Aqeel A. Chowdhry, MD

Tan-Lucien H. Mohammed, MD, FCCP

Axial NECT shows large masses from progressive massive fibrosis image located in the upper lobes and dorsal aspect of the lung.

Coronal NECT shows volume loss and progressive massive fibrosis image, predominantly in the upper lobes.


Abbreviations and Synonyms

  • Complicated pneumoconiosis, progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), anthracosilicosis


  • Lung disease due to inhalation of inorganic mineral dusts containing crystalline silicone dioxide (cement construction products, roof tiles, etc.)

  • Complicated pneumoconiosis: Aggregation of nodules into large masses > 1 cm in diameter, evolves from simple pneumoconiosis

    • Advanced coalescence is known as progressive massive fibrosis


General Features

  • Best diagnostic clue: Micronodular interstitial thickening in upper lung zones with posterior (dorsal) predominance

  • Patient position/location

    • Rounded dusts predominately affect upper lung zones

    • Coal dust accumulates around respiratory bronchioles (coal dust macule)

    • Silica accumulates along lymphatics in centriacinar lobule and lobule periphery

  • Size

    • Micronodules < 10 mm in diameter

    • PMF aggregation > 1 cm

CT Findings

  • More sensitive in detection of nodules and confluence of small opacities

  • Micronodules

    • < 10 mm in centrilobular and subpleural distribution, follow lymphatic pathways

    • Distribution: More profuse in dorsal aspect of upper lobes, right side > left side

    • Nodules may calcify

  • Lymph nodes

    • Typically hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes enlarged

    • May calcify (“eggshell” classic pattern), though may be diffuse or punctate

    • Hilar adenopathy may develop before parenchymal disease

  • Progressive massive fibrosis

Sep 20, 2016 | Posted by in RESPIRATORY IMAGING | Comments Off on Silicosis, Complex
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