Pleural plaques are asymptomatic focal thickenings of the pleura and considered the hallmark of asbestos exposure. However, it is often difficult to detect pleural plaques on chest x-rays (CXR). In a retrospective study, 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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis