Calcified pleural plaques

Case contributed by Dr J. Ray Ballinger


Cough. History of smoking and working as an electrician in a shipyard.

Patient Data

Age: 87 years
Gender: Male

Extensive bilateral pleural calcifications are seen in this patient


A second patient with bilateral dense pleural calcifications consistent with asbestosis. A beautiful example of the holly leaf sign. Also worked in Navy.

Case Discussion

The presence of bilateral calcified pleural plaques is fairly specific for the diagnosis of asbestos exposure. Patients with asbestos exposure are at a 5-fold greater risk of developing lung cancer. There is a synergistic effect between asbestos exposure and smoking with a 55-fold increase in risk for lung cancer. Mesotheliomas are malignancies of the pleura that are associated with condition and are rarely found in people without asbestos exposure. Historically, occupations with high risk of exposure to asbestos include shipyard workers, auto mechanics, construction workers and other construction trades.

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Case information

rID: 23687
Case created: 2nd Jul 2013
Last edited: 18th Sep 2015
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Excluded

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