Silicosis, Simple

Silicosis, Simple

Melinda Z. Rixey, MD

Aqeel A. Chowdhry, MD

Tan-Lucien H. Mohammed, MD, FCCP

Axial CECT shows upper lobe predominant centrilobular and subpleural nodules image in the dorsal aspect of the lung in this patient with simple silicosis.

Axial HRCT in the same patient more inferiorly shows centrilobular nodules image and subpleural nodules image, primarily in the dorsal lungs.


Abbreviations and Synonyms

  • Simple pneumoconiosis, anthracosis, anthracosilicosis


  • Lung disease due to inhalation of inorganic mineral dusts containing crystalline silicone dioxide (quartz)

  • Simple pneumoconiosis: Micronodules < 1 cm develop more than 10 years after long-term occupational exposure

  • Acute silicoproteinosis

    • Rare fulminant respiratory complication of intense exposure to silica dust (typically sandblasting)

      • Appears within 6 months to 3 years after initial exposure

  • Caplan syndrome

    • Seropositive rheumatoid arthritis associated with pneumoconiosis (coal, silica, or asbestos)


General Features

  • Best diagnostic clue: Centrilobular and subpleural nodules in upper lung zones

  • Patient position/location

    • Rounded dusts like silica and coal predominantly affect dorsal aspect of upper lung zones

    • Silica accumulates along lymphatics in centriacinar portion of lobule and lobule periphery

  • Size: Micronodules (< 10 mm in diameter)

CT Findings

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