Four patients occupationally exposed to asbestos, each suffering at least eight years of disabling, persistent, and often bilateral pleuritic pain are described. Radiographic evidence of pleural disease ranged from plaques seen only on computed tomography to typical bilateral plaques or diffuse thickening to extensive diffuse and circumscribed pleural fibrosis and calcification. There was no history or evidence of acute pleuritis or pleural effusion in three patients. Intermittent pleural friction rubs have been present in all four; one patient showed pleural uptake of gallium-67. Extensive workups including repeated pulmonary ventilation-perfusion scans and cardiac catheterisation have not yielded other diagnoses to explain the pain. It is proposed that persistent pleuritic pain be added to the manifestations of benign asbestos induced pleural disease.
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