2015 Volume 37 Issue 2 Pages 219-222
Background. Benign asbestos pleural effusion is thought to be caused by relatively high-level occupational exposure to asbestos; however, the nature of the disease remains largely unknown due to the insufficient number of relevant epidemiological studies. Case. The patient was a 76-year-old man who had no history of occupational exposure to asbestos, but had lived and often played near an operating asbestos factory as a child. Right-sided pleural effusion was identified during a routine health check and the patient was followed-up. However, an increase in pleural effusion was seen and the patient was consequently hospitalized. The pleural effusion was bloody and exudative with lymphocyte predominance. To obtain a definitive diagnosis, thoracoscopy was performed under local anesthesia, which revealed plaque on the parietal pleura, but no findings suggestive of a tumor. A biopsy of the reddened area also revealed no malignant cells. On the basis of these findings, benign asbestos pleural effusion was diagnosed, and at present, after more than two years of follow-up, no malignant tumors have developed. Conclusion. We encountered a case of benign asbestos pleural effusion thought to be caused by neighborhood exposure. Benign asbestos pleural effusion can develop even after relatively low-level exposure to asbestos and, therefore, this disease should be taken into consideration in the differential diagnosis of idiopathic pleural effusion. It is important to take a patient's residential history as well as their occupational history.