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World Trade Center “Sarcoid-Like” Granulomatous Pulmonary Disease in New York City Fire Department Rescue Workers* *

Background: Previous reports suggest that sarcoidosis occurs with abnormally high frequency in firefighters. We sought to determine whether exposure to World Trade Center (WTC) "dust" during the collapse and rescue/recovery effort increased the incidence of sarcoidosis or "sarcoid-like" granulomatous pulmonary disease (SLGPD).

Methods: During the 5 years after the WTC disaster, enrollees in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) WTC monitoring and treatment programs who had chest radiograph findings suggestive of sarcoidosis underwent evaluation, including the following: chest CT imaging, pulmonary function, provocative challenge, and biopsy. Annual incidence rates were compared to the 15 years before the WTC disaster.

Results: After WTC dust exposure, pathologic evidence consistent with new-onset sarcoidosis was found in 26 patients: all 26 patients had intrathoracic adenopathy, and 6 patients (23%) had extrathoracic disease. Thirteen patients were identified during the first year after WTC dust exposure (incidence rate, 86/100,000), and 13 patients were identified during the next 4 years (average annual incidence rate, 22/100,000; as compared to 15/100,000 during the 15 years before the WTC disaster). Eighteen of 26 patients (69%) had findings consistent with asthma. Eight of 21 patients (38%) agreeing to challenge testing had airway hyperreactivity (AHR), findings not seen in FDNY sarcoidosis patients before the WTC disaster.

Conclusion: After the WTC disaster, the incidence of sarcoidosis or SLGPD was increased among FDNY rescue workers. This new information about the early onset of WTC-SLGPD and its association with asthma/AHR has important public health consequences for disease prevention, early detection, and treatment following environmental/occupational exposures.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 09-22-2008
Authors: Gabriel Izbicki, MD; Robert Chavko, MD; Gisela I. Banauch, MD; Michael D. Weiden, MD; Kenneth I. Berger, MD; Thomas K. Aldrich, MD, FCCP; Charles Hall, PhD; Kerry J. Kelly, MD and David J. Prezant, MD, FCCP
Source: First published online on March 30, 2007