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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary Fibrosis from post-PTB treatment

07/25/2008

Question:

Will my recent medical results pulmonary fibrosis affect my chance of getting a work abroad? I`m an electronics engineer and had good offers working aboard but I`m afraid that I might turn down for health reasons if they`ll find out my previous record. I undergone PTB treatment when I was in college for 6 months which resulted a scar on my right lung.

Please advise what would be the best thing to do, I`m beginning to loose self-esteem for I can`t grab greater career opportunities.

Answer:

A positive tuberculosis skin test means that you have been infected with TB at some point in the past. We call this condition "latent tuberculosis" and about 1/3 of the world's population has this. About 5% of patients with latent TB go on to develop active tuberculosis which is the contagious form. If a person had previous tuberculosis and completed a full course of treatment, that person is will not become infectious in the future.

Small scars from TB are quite common and represent no health threat. Larger scars and bronchiectasis from previous TB can pose some risk of health problems in the future, but these are relatively uncommon.

To reduce the chance that your previous TB becomes an employment barrier, there are two things you can do. First, obtain documentation from the physician or clinic that treated you before and get a letter or note indicating that you have completed treatment and are at no risk of developing active TB in the future.

Second, if the scar is large, obtain a consultation from a pulmonologist to indicate what the health risk of the scar is — if there is little risk, then having that written documentation that you can provide on demand will be helpful in securing future employment.

For more information:

Go to the Pulmonary Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University