Comparison of sputum and lung asbestos body counts in former asbestos workers.
The asbestos (ferruginous) body content of lung tissues was compared to the number of asbestos bodies (AB) in sputum from 6 former amosite asbestos workers. Lung tissue was obtained at autopsy (5 subjects) and lobectomy (1 subject), and AB content was determined by a digestion-concentration technique. The sputum obtained was collected by both spontaneous cough (a pooled, 3-day specimen) and aerosolized hypertonic saline induction. Four slides treated with Papanicolaou's stain were prepared from each cytologic specimen and scored from 0 to 3 + on the basis of the total number of AB counted on the 4 slides. A significant correlation (P < 0.02) was found between the number of AB per gram of lung tissue and the percentage of sputum specimens from each worker than were positive for AB. Asbestos bodies were identified in 46% of sputum specimens from the 4 workers whose lungs contained 900 or more AB/g of lung tissue.
Roggli, VL; Greenberg, SD; McLarty, JW; Hurst, GA; Hieger, LR; Farley, ML; Mabry, LC
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