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Lung diseases

ASBESTOSIS VS. IPF

08/21/2000

Question:

what is the best way to differentiate between IPF and Asbestos related lung diseases?

Answer:

This is a difficult question. The two diseases are indistinguishable on biopsy specimens. Even demonstrating the presence of `asbestos bodies` on the lung biopsy does not prove that the disease is due to asbestos, since these can also been seen in IPF. The best indicators of asbestosis are: 1) a compatible exposure history, 2) pleural thickening on chest xray or high resolution CT, 3) pleural calcification on chest xray or chest CT. The latter is the most specific.

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Response by:

Francis X McCormack, MD
Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati