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Imaging in occupational and environmental lung disease

Larici, Anna Ritaa; Mereu, Manuelab; Franchi, Paolaa

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: March 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 205–211
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000034
IMAGING: Edited by Johny Verschakelen

Purpose of review Work-related and environmental lung disease is increasing over time and new antigens causing pulmonary response are described in medical literature every year with more or less specific imaging findings. The purposes of this review are to highlight the current role of imaging, describe classic as well as uncommon high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) patterns helpful in guiding diagnosis and update the recent literature on this topic.

Recent findings Recent literature on imaging of occupational and environmental lung disease is scarce and is predominantly based on the HRCT appearance related to specific antigen exposure and on prognostic significance of findings.

Summary Knowledge of imaging modality potential and radiologic appearance may guide identification, characterization and follow-up of old and new occupational and environmental lung diseases. HRCT plays a key role in this context, having radiation exposure as a major limitation, especially in asymptomatic patients. Low-dose HRCT has the potential to be employed for screening and surveillance of the exposed individuals. However, future research is needed to further this field.

aDepartment of Radiological Sciences, Catholic University, ‘A. Gemelli’ Hospital, Rome

bDepartment of Neuroscience and Section of Integrated Imaging and Radiological Therapies, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy

Correspondence to Anna Rita Larici, MD, Department of Radiological Sciences, Catholic University, ‘A. Gemelli’ Hospital, Largo A. Gemelli 8, 00168 Rome, Italy. Tel: +39 06 3015 6054; fax: +39 06 3550 1928; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins