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Study Syllabus for Classification of Radiographs of Pneumoconioses

Clinical Overview

Central Role of Diagnostic Imaging

Imaging has a critical role in early detection of occupational lung disease, both on the chest radiograph and on HRCT. Early detection of changes of occupational lung disease requires awareness of the variety of patterns that may occur in these diseases. The ILO classification focuses on small round opacities (nodules) and small irregular opacities (reticular pattern), because these are the most frequent patterns found in the classic pneumoconioses. The emphasis on these important patterns should not lead the interpreter to ignore other abnormalities potentially related to occupational exposures, including ground glass abnormality, consolidation, airway wall thickening, and emphysema (Table 1). The image interpreter must also be aware of potential non-occupational causes of these patterns, as shown in Table 1, and include these non-occupational entities in the differential diagnosis of radiologic abnormalities.