Asymptomatic Renal Function Abnormalities in Patients having Silicosis

Silicosis is one among the oldest
occupational lung diseases known that is caused by inhalation, retention, and
pulmonary reaction to the crystalline form of silica. A variety of occupational
exposures are associated with the occurrence of silicosis, that is, mining,
quarrying, cement, glass construction, ceramic, foundries, shipbuilding,
rubber, cosmetic industries, jewelry, arts, crafts, sculpture, dental material,
and many others.

Several studies for many years have drawn
attention to renal dysfunction and nephrotoxicity among workers exposed to
silica. This present study was conducted
to evaluate renal dysfunction, if any, among Indian patients having silicosis and
its correlation with the duration of exposure to silica dust.

This study included 52 eligible patients
with a history of silica dust exposure and silicosis confirm on radiological
examination. Investigations like serum creatinine, urinary albumin creatinine
ratio, etc. were done. The “modification of diet in renal disease” (MDRD)
formula was used to calculate the glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

This study showed 53.84% of patients having
albuminuria and a mean “urinary albumin to creatinine ratio” (UACR) was also
calculated. Isolated macroalbuminuria was detected in 11.5% of patients while
42.3% of patients presented with microalbuminuria.. They also identified a
significant association between the duration of exposure to silica dust and urinary
albumin to creatinine ratio and glomerular filtration rate.

Hence, the researchers concluded that albuminuria
and reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate in patients with silica dust
exposure is not uncommon and it reflects early underlying renal dysfunctions. This
study suggests a simple and cost-effective screening strategy for early
detection of renal dysfunction among silicosis patients that may be considered
as a tool to prevent further renal damage in such patients.


Dixit R, Jalutharia J, Goyal M.
Asymptomatic Renal Function Abnormalities in Patients having Silicosis. J Assoc
Physicians India 2022;70(11):49–52.

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