Asbestosis Diagnosis In the Sufferer’s Lifetime
There are other conditions that are similar to asbestosis and to make a diagnosis a doctor has to exclude these other conditions by looking at certain criteria.
- Discussing work history or other sources of exposure to asbestos
- A history of substantial exposure to asbestos
- Fibrosis visible on x-ray or CT scan
- Spirometry – breathing test
- Crackles heard by the doctor when listening to the patient’s chest through a stethoscope.
- Shortness of breath
- Relative stability or only gradual progression of symptoms over a period rather than rapid deterioration.
This is an area of medicine in which doctors opinions can differ so it is important that a chest consultant gives an opinion early on in the claim.
It is generally accepted that there is at least a 10 year period from the date the sufferer was exposed to asbestos and the onset of symptoms. In some cases this period of time, (known as the latency period) can run into decades before a person starts to have symptoms and is fully diagnosed.
In every asbestosis case we will request that an independant consultant expert confirms the diagnosis. in order to provide an independant opinion in your case.
Asbestosis diagnosis after death
Sadly in some circumstances a diagnosis is only made after the sufferer has passed away as to whether the death was asbestos related. In these circumstances there may be a post mortem and coroner’s inquest. Lung tissue samples may be tested to determine an estimated number of asbestos fibres in the lungs and the types of fibres. To confirm a diagnosis of asbestosis there has to be a certain number of estimated asbestos fibres found within the lung samples. Please see our coroners page for further information.
This is a specialised area of work and there are only a handful of laboratories who are qualified to undertake this procedure in the UK. It is important therefore that you take specialist legal advice at this stage to guide the family through the process.
Thankfully most sufferers are diagnosed in their lifetime.