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Rapid Progression Noted in Artificial Stone Silicosis

Progressive massive fibrosis increased from 6.6 to 37.7 percent after mean follow-up of 4.1 years

THURSDAY, June 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Artificial stone silicosis progresses rapidly, according to a study published online June 18 in CHEST.

Antonio León-Jiménez, Ph.D., from Puerta del Mar University Hospital in Cádiz, Spain, and colleagues examined radiologic progression and lung function in 106 patients diagnosed with artificial stone silicosis between 2009 and 2018. Following diagnosis, all patients stopped working in the stone industry.

All patients were men, and the mean age at diagnosis was 36.2 ± 7.0 years. The researchers found that 99 patients were considered to have simple silicosis at diagnosis and seven had progressive massive fibrosis (PMF; 93.4 and 6.6 percent, respectively). In 56 percent of the patients, after a mean follow-up of 4.01 ± 2.1 years, disease had progressed two or more International Labor Office subcategories, and there was an increase to 40 patients (37.7 percent) with PMF. Decreases were seen in forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second, with average decreases of 86.8 and 83.4 mL per year, respectively; the annual decrease exceeded 157 and 133 mL, respectively, in 25 percent of patients. Lower FVC at diagnosis and longer duration of exposure to silica correlated with progression to PMF in a multivariable analysis.

“At this rate of progression, in a few years, a significant proportion of patients might develop respiratory failure and will need to undergo lung transplantation, the only effective treatment currently available for this disease,” the authors write.

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