Chronic Beryllium Poisoning (Chronic Pulmonary Granulomatosis)

Author and Disclosure Information


THE following case reports add confirmation to the recent article by Kennedy et al1 (2 cases) which states that subjective and objective improvement have been demonstrated by the administration of ACTH in instances of chronic beryllium poisoning. Heretofore no therapy affording even temporary improvement has been found by us in progressive and severe cases of this disease. The factor of exposure to beryllium and/or its compounds has been present in each instance.

Case Reports

Case 1. A white man now 50 years of age was employed in a beryllium basic production plant on April 30, 1945. For the first 7 days he worked with the soluble fluoric salt compounds of beryllium but was transferred, because of evidence of dermal intolerance, to a department where melted and ground ore was treated with sulfuric acid. Three weeks later he developed a spasmodic productive cough, substernal discomfort and exertional dyspnea. A clinical diagnosis of acute chemical bronchitis was established. Roentgen examination of the chest was negative. Under ambulatory symptomatic therapy he made an uneventful recovery and returned to work on July 9, 1945; however, within 10 days the patient had a recurrence of subjective and objective symptoms. Following complete recovery he was ordered medically released from the industry on September 11, 1945.

His subsequent place of employment was approximately one and one-half miles from the beryllium plant and his permanent residence about nine miles away.

In October 1947 he first became aware of a refractive spasmodic productive cough, a progressive exertional dyspnea, and. . .



Next Article: