Asbestosis is diagnosed with a combination of historical, clinical and radiological findings in the absence of another cause. Histology is required when uncertainty exists, with lung biopsy via VATs being gold standard. Transbronchial cryobiopsy is becoming increasingly popular for diagnosing interstitial lung disease and may provide sufficient lung sample to demonstrate asbestosis. A 73 year old man presented with dyspnoea on a background of rheumatoid arthritis, previous methotrexate use and asbestos exposure. Examination revealed fine crackles in the mid and lower zones bilaterally without signs of pulmonary hypertension. The presence of pleural plaques and basal interstitial reticulation on HRCT was suggestive of asbestosis but histology was required to differentiate this from rheumatoid or methotrexate associated ILD. Samples of lung tissue were obtained via transbronchial cryobiopsy, demonstrating fibrosis and asbestos fibres consistent with asbestosis. Transbronchial cryobiopsy appears effective in obtaining sufficient parenchymal lung samples to diagnose asbestosis when clinical uncertainty exists.
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- Asbestos fibre count