Is Mining the Main Cause of Silicosis? Case Series


1 Department of Pathology

2 Lung Transplantation Research Center, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti University M.C.

3 Faculty of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, Shahrood University of Technology

4 Department of Internal Medicine

5 Department of Radiology, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti University M.C., TEHRAN-IRAN.


Background: Silicosis is an irreversible progressive lung disease which leads to ultimate death. This study aimed to describe characteristics of individuals affected by silicosis, evaluate the prevalence of silicosis in miners and also introduce preventive policies. Materials and Methods: Cases with pathologic diagnosis of silicosis were retrieved from archive of pathology department of national research institute of tuberculosis and lung disease (NRITLD) during 2000-2009. All hematoxylin and eosin stained slides were reviewed by two pathologists independent of clinical and imaging findings. Occupational history, clinical information, imaging findings, history of associated disease, method of biopsy and pathologic diagnosis were reviewed. Results: During 2000 and 2009, 29 cases had pathologic diagnosis of silicosis, 4 of them were excluded due to unavailable occupational history. The disease presented among patients in the age range of 22-80 years. The most common occupation was sandblasting while mining was in the second position. The male patients who were miners were old except for one who was a 28-year old car painter whose previous job was mining. Most sandblasters were young except one who was 55. The most prevalent radiologic finding was pulmonary nodules. Restrictive pattern was the most common finding in pulmonary function test (PFT). Of patients, 28% had current tuberculosis. Transbronchial lung biopsy was the method of choice in 14 cases. The most prevalent pathologic finding was early silicotic nodules. Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that mining was not the main occupational history in our understudy cases. We also observed the change in the age range of patients suffering from silicosis which may be due to the prevalence of sandblasting and job demands in young patients. It is recommended that protective measures be applied not only in mining industries, but also in small workshops and studios. It is also necessary that working conditions in these workplaces be evaluated regularly by the occupational safety and health administration. (Tanaffos2010; 9(3): 37-43)