C. Pleural plaques
Pleural plaques is a medical condition as a result of exposure to asbestos that lead to accumulated plagues within the pleural cavity(a). Many diseases such as pneumonia, breast cancer, and heart failure can affect the pleural space.,therefore, it is often a secondary effect of another disease process.
If you are experience certain of above symptoms and your doctor suspect that you may have develop pleural plaques, after recording you family history including occupation and a complete physical examination, including listen to your lung to test for asbestosis, as the lungs affected by asbestosis often produce a particular dry, crackling sound and pulmonary function test. Other tests which your doctor orders may include
1. Chest X-ray and CT scans
Pleural plaques are asymptomatic focal thickenings of the pleura and considered the hallmark of asbestos exposure. In a retrospective study by the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine using chest CT scans of 140 Japanese asbestos-exposed construction workers who have probable or definite findings of pleural plaque on CXR; firstly, we proposed plaque morphology-based classification for CXR findings, and then we examined if those classified findings could be confirmed as pleural plaques on CT scans. Our morphology-based classification of pleural plaque findings included nine types. The percentages of confirmed pleural plaques on CT scans by type (number of confirmed pleural plaque on CT/number of observed on CXR) were 93% (40/43) for straight, 89% (56/63) for diamond, 88% (7/8) for double, 83% (19/23) for tapered medially, 80% (20/25) for parallel, 77% (23/30) for crescent, 79% (11/14) for tenting, 72% (18/25) for tapered-laterally (long type), and 0% (0/9) for tapered-laterally (short type). When added to the ILO classification, morphology-based classification of CXR pleural plaque findings makes its detection easier and hence chest radiograph continues to be a suitable tool for screening asbestos-related pleural plaques based on its simplicity, low radiation exposure, wide availability and cost-effectiveness(23).
Other in the review of results of the published studies concerning radiography or CT note that the great interobserver variability in the recognition of pleural plaques and asbestosis, indicating the need for adequate training of radiologists, and the importance of defining standardized, quantified criteria for CT abnormalities. The very low agreement between thoracic and general radiologists must be taken into account. The reading of CT scans in cases of occupational exposure to asbestos should be entrusted to thoracic radiologists or to general radiologists having validated specific training. A double interpretation of CT could be considered in medicosocial requests. CT is more sensitive than chest radiography in the detection of bronchial carcinoma but generates a great number of false positive results (96 to 99%)(24).
In the study to compare respiratory-gated high-spatial resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and radial MRI with ultra-short echo times with computed tomography (CT) in the diagnosis of asbestos-related pleural disease, by the German Cancer Research Center, indicated that high-resolution MR sequences and radial MRI achieve a comparable interobserver agreement in detecting pleural plaques and even a higher interobserver agreement in assessing pleural thickening, pleural effusion, and extrapleural fat when compared with CT(25).
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