Caplan syndrome : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Alternate Names : Rheumatoid pneumoconiosis

Definition

Caplan syndrome is swelling (inflammation) and scarring of the lungs in people with rheumatoid arthritis who have been exposed to mining dust, such as coal, silica, or asbestos.

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Caplan syndrome is caused by breathing in mining dust, which causes inflammation and can lead to the development of many small lung bumps (nodules) and mild asthma-like airway disease.

Some people who have been exposed to the dust have severe lung scarring that makes it difficult for their lungs to carry oxygen to the bloodstream (called progressive massive fibrosis). People with rheumatoid arthritis do not seem more likely to have this complication of scarring. Caplan syndrome is very rare in the United States.

Pictures & Images

Respiratory system

Respiratory system

Air is breathed in through the nasal passageways, travels through the trachea and bronchi to the lungs.


Review Date : 4/16/2009
Reviewed By : David A. Kaufman, MD, Section Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, Bridgeport Hospital-Yale New Haven Health System, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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