Introduction Asbestos, a silicatum largely used in industry is responsible to harmful effects to the respiratory system, once inhalation and fibre accumulation of these materials in the pulmonary parenchyma are associated to pleural and pulmonary injuries. The objective of this study is to find the most prevalent pulmonary changes evaluated in asbesto’s exposed workers and verify if there is any risk factor associated.
Methods This was a cross-sectional study which evaluated 48 retired workers exposed more than 15 years to asbestos at aluminium mining industry at Poços de Caldas – Brazil. The workers were evaluated between June 2015-July 2016 and submitted to a structured analysis for data collection including: gender, age, smoking load, chest X-ray, chest computed tomography (CT), and spirometry (divided in normal, mild, moderate and severe alterations). The CT was applied in workers who had shown clinic, radiographic and spirometric alterations. It was applied Chi-Square method, p<0,05 using One-Way ANOVA and Tukey test.
Results All workers were male, mean age of 64 years-old. The mean FEV1 was higher in non-smokers group (95%) in comparison to ex-smokers group (88%) and smokers (82%). The FEV1 decay was proportional to smoking load increase; FVC lowest values were found in the smokers group (mean of 78%) and increasing FVC values in ex-smokers and non-smokers group. Lung emphysema and diffuse bronchial injury were the most prevalent findings, shown on 8 and 7 workers respectively. Only 2 workers presented pleural plaques.
Discussion The results suggested that smoking is an important risk factor for functional lung injuries, enhancing the harmful effects of asbestos chronic exposure. These data may contribute with strategies to enhance smoking cessation and preventive respiratory disease programs within the mining industry in order to prevent pulmonary injuries. These measures may possibly decrease the risk for developing lung diseases associated in asbestos’ exposed mining workers.
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