Silicotuberculosis in the elderly: Report of two cases

F. Scafa, C. M. Minelli, R. Fonte, G. L. Rosso, M. I. Cappelli, Stefano M. Candura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Silicotuberculosis is observed rarely in the current clinical practice. We present two patients (a 72-year-old man and a 84-year-old woman) who developed silicosis after having worked for several decades in the ceramics industry. In both, pulmonary tuberculosis complicated the clinical picture several years after retirement. The first subject presented a multicavitary lesion in the apex of the right lung, which subsequently evolved with fibrosis. The other developed bilateral tubercular bronchopneumonia and right tubercular pleurisy, that improved after prolonged antimycobacterial polychemotherapy. The two cases confirm that patients with silicosis are at an increased risk of developing tuberculosis, and show that, nowadays, silicotuberculosis may represent a geriatric problem. In the elderly, recognition of tuberculosis associated with silicosis is often difficult. Occupational history, radiology (conventional chest radiography and computed tomography) and microbiology (identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in sputum and pleural exudate) are helpful for the correct diagnosis, which, in turn, is important for prognosis and treatment, as well as in relation to medico-legal issues and occupational-related compensation claims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-243
Number of pages3
JournalMonaldi Archives for Chest Disease - Cardiac Series
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • Ceramics industry
  • Occupational disease
  • Radiodiagnostics
  • Silicosis
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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