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Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis

  • Coal Workers Pneumoconiosis (CWP) is a respiratory disease caused by a life-time of high level inhalation of carbon dust and may occur in workers of the coal mining industry.
  • The pathogenesis of CWP is similar to other pneumoconioses (see page); however, several distinct stages can be observed in CWP. The early stage of CWP is that of anthracosis characterized by the presence of dark streaks in the lung, representing the migratory path of carbon dust-laden alveolar macrophages along the pulmonary lymphatics. This early stage can progress into "Simple CWP" which is heralded by the development of black nodules within the lung, representing accumulations of dust-laden macrophages together with some delicate reactive fibrosis. Over time, "Complicated CWP" can result as nodules coalesce, grow, and undergo further fibrosis. When nodules reach a particular size, the term "Progressive Massive Fibrosis (PMF)" is applied. Sadly, in some patients complicated CWP can progress to PMF even if exposure to coal dust is halted.
Clinical Consequences