The association of silicosis severity with pectoralis major muscle and subcutaneous fat volumes, and the pulmonary



Silicosis is an incurable occupational disease that sometimes rapidly progresses with fatal outcomes. We aimed to evaluate the association between the severity of disease and the changes in the volumes of the pectoralis major muscle (PMV) and subcutaneous fat (SFV), and the pulmonary artery/aorta (P/Ao) ratio in patients with silicosis using computed tomography (CT).


The study included 41 male silicosis patients and 41 trauma patients with available chest CT images. Using dedicated software, we measured PMV and SFV from the axial CT images. We calculated the P/Ao ratio and obtained body mass index (BMI) and pulmonary function test (PFT) results from hospital records. We used the chest X-ray profusion score according to the International Labor Organization (ILO) classification to evaluate the severity of the silicosis.


The mean age was 33.5 ±4.4 and 34.7±4.7 years in the silicotic and control groups, respectively. The mean BMI, PMV, SFV and P/Ao values significantly differed between the study and control groups (respectively p values: 0.0009, <0.0001, <0.0001, and 0.0029, respectively). According to the ILO classification, there were 12 silicosis patients in category 1, 13 in category 2, and 16 in category 3. A significant difference was found between disease categories in terms of PMV, SFV, P/Ao, BMI, and FEV1/FVC values (p = 0.0425, 0.0341, 0.0002, 0.0492, and 0.0004, respectively).


Disease severity was more strongly associated with decreased muscle and subcutaneous fat volume and increased P/Ao ratios than BMI in patients with silicosis caused by denim sandblasting. Thus, CT evaluation might be a useful indicator of disease severity.

Authors: Y?lmaz Çankaya B, Karaman A, Albez FS, Polat G, Alper F, Akgün M
; Full Source: Diagnostic and interventional radiology (Anakara, Turkey). 2020 Mar 25. doi: 10.5152/dir.2020.19534. [Epub ahead of print]