Progressive massive fibrosis

Case contributed by Dr Ian Bickle


Retired coal miner. Long history of chronic breathing problems following medical retirement from the coal face.

Patient Data

Age: 70 years old
Gender: Male

Bilateral upper lobe fibrosis.

Bilateral upper lobe masses, more defined in the right upper lobe.


The pit head of Treeton Colliery, Yorkshire, UK.  Circa 1970's. A typical coal mine that was commonplace in the 1960-80's across northern England.

Photo courtesy of Ian Bickle personal collection.

Case Discussion

Now near defunct, coal mining previously represented a huge industry employing hundreds of thousands of men in the UK, especially the North of England.

Exposure to inorganic dusts causes a range of medical problems, especially involving the chest, including: pulmonary fibrosis, coal worker's pneumoconiosis and progressive massive fibrosis (PMF).

A good proportion of these workers also smoked, so the initial presentation with a 'mass on chest x-ray' poses a diagnosis conundrum.  With serial old films, cases like this one confirmed PMF.



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Case information

rID: 30060
Published: 16th Jul 2014
Last edited: 20th Dec 2019
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included