How is chemical worker's lung diagnosed?

Updated: Dec 24, 2019
  • Author: Shakeel Amanullah, MD; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Answer

Serial medical examinations, pulmonary function tests (including DLCO), and imaging (chest radiography) may be useful to diagnose chemical worker's lung early in its course. A careful exposure history in combination with imaging and pulmonary function testing is often enough to make the diagnosis of an occupational lung disease. For example occupational asthma and most other obstructive lung diseases are diagnosed without histologic findings and the pneumoconioses usually have distinct imaging abnormalities and common occupational histories. Depending on the occupational history and suspected, serologic and other laboratory studies may help distinguish exposure-related diseases from autoimmune and other conditions that may be included in the differential diagnosis.


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