Widely used in construction in the UK in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, prolonged exposure to deadly asbestos fibres can bring about the onset of a number of asbestos-related diseases including pleural thickening. If you’ve been diagnosed with this disease or are caring for a family member who has themselves recently received a diagnosis, we encourage you to give us a call or to request a call back from one of our specialist pleural thickening solicitors. We understand that a diagnosis of any sort brings about a difficult time for you and your family and, as such, we’re here to help!
Recent Successful Pleural Thickening Claims Include
- £35,000 Awarded To Mr M, A Former Power Station Fitter
- £25,000 Awarded To Mr G, A Former Electronic Technician
- £15,000 Awarded To Mr L, A Former Plumber
Pleural thickening occurs due to asbestos exposure because the particles of asbestos are so small that they bypass the lungs filtration system. Most airborne particles are trapped in the lungs filtration system and stop them from doing any harm, however this is not the case with asbestos fibres. Once these particles are in the lungs, they become embedded in the pleura and can cause inflammation and scarring.
Pleural thickening is scarring and hardening of the pleura, the lining which covers the lungs. When this occurs, it is increasingly difficult for the two layers of the pleura to slide over each other and, as such, for the lungs to expand. This generally causes breathlessness in sufferers.
It usually takes around 20 years for pleural thickening to show symptoms and it is important to note that not all cases show all or any symptoms. Those symptoms typically associated with pleural thickening, however, include:
- Progressive Breathlessness
- Reduced Chest Wall Movement
- Chest Pain
- Impaired Lung Function
- Persistent Cough
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and have concerned that you may be suffering from pleural thickening, we strongly suggest that you visit your doctor as soon as possible who will discuss your symptoms with you in greater depth and offer a diagnosis.
Pleural thickening can be detected by an ultrasound scan. This shows an image of the lungs in which the thickened pleura appears differently from pleural fluid. Pleural thickening can also be detected by a CT scan, which can show up an area as thin as 1 mm thick. It shows up clearly on CT scans as a layer of dense tissue between the chest wall and the lungs.
The damage to the pleura caused by pleural thickening is unfortunately irreversible, however there are a number of treatments available to improve a sufferers quality of life and to reduce the symptoms commonly associated with the disease.
Pain medications such as bronchodilators, steroids and antibiotics are commonly prescribed to help make breathing a little easier and in instances where a patient suffers from pleural effusion, it is often possible to perform a thoracentesis to remove excess fluid on the chest and reduce pressure, helping make breathing a little easier.
On rare occasions, it may be possible for pleurectomy surgery, the removal of parts of the pleura and nearby chest linings, to be carried out successfully, despite being generally used only for mesothelioma patients.