Benign asbestos-induced pleural effusions are considered part of asbestos related benign pleural disease.
Patients may be asymptomatic or present with dyspnea or chest pain.
They develop after an extended latency period post-asbestos exposure, with a median duration of exposure to the period of latency for disease onset ranging from 31-48 years 1. Their development is thought to be exposure-dependent although it can also occur even after minimal exposure.
They usually comprise of hemorrhagic exudates of mixed cellularity. Asbestos bodies are typically absent. High levels of eosinophils are present within the fluid in approximately one-third of cases.
Treatment and prognosis
The effusions usually resolve over a few months but can persist or recur. Diffuse pleural thickening can be commonly seen after resolution.
Some authors suggest CT follow-up over a 2-year period given the need to establish whether there is a progressive abnormality and/or progressive pleural thickening 4.
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- 2. Roach HD, Davies GJ, Attanoos R, Crane M, Adams H, Phillips S. Asbestos: when the dust settles an imaging review of asbestos-related disease. (2002) Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. 22 Spec No: S167-84. doi:10.1148/radiographics.22.suppl_1.g02oc10s167 - Pubmed
- 3. Robinson BW, Musk AW. Benign asbestos pleural effusion: diagnosis and course. (1981) Thorax. 36 (12): 896-900. Pubmed
- 4. Oliver J. Bintcliffe, Gary Y.C. Lee, Najib M. Rahman, Nick A. Maskell. The management of benign non-infective pleural effusions. (2016) European Respiratory Review. 25 (141): 303. doi:10.1183/16000617.0026-2016 - Pubmed