Coal Worker's Pneumoconiosis Treatment & Management

Updated: Dec 16, 2015
  • Author: Farhan J Khan, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Medical Care

Treatment for both simple coal worker’s pneumoconiosis and complicated coal worker’s pneumoconiosis is symptomatic. Use oxygen as hypoxemia demands.

No evidence supports the hypothesis that removing the miner from the mining environment arrests the disease once progression to progressive massive fibrosis has begun. Therefore, serially monitoring the chest radiographs of miners in order to prevent the development of complicated coal worker’s pneumoconiosis is prudent. Advise workers who develop evidence of simple coal worker’s pneumoconiosis to transfer to jobs with low dust exposure.

Since smoking has an additive effect on coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, smoking cessation should be strongly recommended.

Caplan syndrome is treated similarly to progressive massive fibrosis. Oxygen and bronchodilators are administered as needed. The rheumatoid component is treated separately, per rheumatological protocol.

All patients should receive immunizations for influenzae and pneumococci.

One should strongly consider the possibility of superimposed mycobacterial infection in any patient with unexplained weight loss, chronic cough, fever, or night sweats.

A retrospective study noted good clinical outcomes after lung transplantation in a small group of patients with coal worker's pneumoconiosis. Removal of native lungs was not problematic, and no complications were found during the perioperative and postoperative periods. Furthermore, no pulmonary complications due to the native lung in patients who underwent single lung transplantation were reported. [31]



Consultation with a pulmonary medicine specialist is required.