Berylliosis Follow-up

Updated: Dec 31, 2015
  • Author: Raed A Dweik, MD, MBA, FACP, FRCPC, FCCP, FCCM, FAHA; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Follow-up

Further Outpatient Care

Chronic beryllium disease (CBD, berylliosis) patients should be monitored by a pulmonologist. The frequency of follow-up depends on the extent of the disease and the need for therapy.

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Deterrence/Prevention

Prevention is a key component in the management of CBD.

The current OSHA standards for workplace air require an 8-hour, time-weighted average maximum permissible level of 2 mcg/m3, along with a peak level of 25 mcg/m3. The beryllium concentration in the air around factories is not to exceed 0.01 mcg/m3. Some recent studies suggest that the current standard of 2 mcg/m3 is not protective.

Although no proof exists that cessation of exposure to beryllium improves the disease course or slows the progression, advising all patients with CBD to avoid any further exposure to beryllium is prudent.

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Complications

Monitor for complications of corticosteroid therapy in patients receiving such therapy.

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Prognosis

The natural history of CBD remains unclear. While many patients are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis and may remain so, some patients experience progressive decline in their lung function that may progress to respiratory failure requiring oxygen supplementation and, in certain advanced cases, lung transplantation.

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Patient Education

Certain individuals with beryllium sensitization or chronic beryllium disease may be eligible for government benefits and compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. More information is available on the US Department of Labor Web site, Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation.

For excellent patient education resources, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Bronchoscopy.

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