Patients with silicosis will gave an occupational history of silica exposure. A diagnosis of silicosis is usually made based on chest x-ray or CT appearance. CT is more sensitive than x-ray. Helical CT and high-resolution techniques are used. Tissue biopsy may be required for confirmation.
Adjunctive tests include:
► Tuberculin skin testing
► Sputum culture and cytology
► PET scan
The following investigations are not of definitive diagnostic value but help to monitor disease progression:
► Pulmonary function tests
► Measures of gas exchange by pulse oximetry or preferably indwelling arterial catheter is a highly sensitive measure of lung function impairment
Tests for Antinuclear antibodies and rheumatoid factor are also employed as they may suggest (not diagnostic) a coexisting connective tissue disorder.