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May 3, 1965

Asbestos Bodies in Human Lungs at Autopsy

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pathology. Presbyterian-University Hospital and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Drs. Cauna and Totten), and Industrial Hygiene Foundation, Inc., Mellon Institute (Dr. Gross), Pittsburgh.

JAMA. 1965;192(5):371-373. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080180029006

The incidence of asbestos bodies in the lungs was investigated in 100 autopsies of adults. Lung smears were taken from the sectioned surfaces of the upper and lower lobes of both lungs. The slides were dried and mounted without staining, and approximately 400 low-power fields were examined in each slide. Routine histological sections of unexpanded lungs were also examined in all cases. Asbestos bodies were found in 41% of the subjects. They were not encountered in persons up to 24 years of age. Among males the incidence was 47%, and in females 34%. Although significant microscopic pulmonary fibrosis was encountered in two positive cases, no instance of classical asbestosis was found. Mesothelioma of the pleura was not encountered. Primary lung carcinoma occurred in one patient with asbestos bodies and in one without.