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Key Features

  • Extensive or prolonged inhalation of free silica

  • Small, rounded opacities (silicotic nodules) throughout the lung

Clinical Findings

  • Calcification of peripheral hilar lymph nodes ("eggshell" calcification) strongly suggests silicosis

  • Incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis is increased in patients with silicosis

Diagnosis

  • Simple silicosis is usually asymptomatic without effect on pulmonary function tests

  • Complicated silicosis presents with large conglomerate densities in the upper lung; dyspnea with restrictive and obstructive changes on pulmonary function tests is common

Treatment

  • All patients require a tuberculin skin test and current chest radiograph

  • Patients with suspected old pulmonary tuberculosis should be treated with multidrug regimens

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