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82 High resolution computed tomography of the lungs of asphalt workers
  1. G Randem1,
  2. Aaløkken1,
  3. Ulvestad2
  1. 1Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Statens Arbeidsmiljøinstitutt, Oslo, Norway


Asphalt paving workers are exposed to ultrafine particles originating mainly from asphalt paving activities (asphalt fumes) and traffic exhaust. Studies hav ereported asphalt paving workers have more respiratory symptoms, airflow limitation and signs of airway inflammation than other heavy construction workers, and the mortality from respiratory diseases may be higher.

Objectives High resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is useful in assessing the presence of parenchymal abnormalities in the lung. The aim of this study was to explore the distribution of different HRCT findings in a group of asphalt paving workers previously examined with lung function tests.

Methods All the asphalt pavers previously examined with lung function tests in 2005 (n = 76) were invited to do HRCT of their lungs. They were contacted by telephone and then received a formal request in writing. Of the group, 53 workers accepted doing the HRCT and being part of the study.

Thin-section CT images were obtained in the supine position during breath-holding and deep inspiration at 120–140 kV, with 1 or 1.25-mm section thickness at 10-mm intervals.

The images were reviewed separately and in random order by two chest radiologists (with 18 and 12 years of experience, respectively). The observers were blinded to clinical information and histological diagnosis.

Results The distribution of radiographic abnormalities in the CT scans of lungs of asphalt workers was comparable to the distribution in the normal population of the same age.

Results The study group was fairly small. We could not detect radiographic abnormalities of the lung associated with asphalt work.

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