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Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Posted on- Aug 28, 2015
  • 188 Views

Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia, also called BOOP, is a somewhat rare but serious lung disease. BOOP causes inflammation of the bronchioles, called bronchiolitis. This condition also involves the surrounding lung tissue. The alveoli, or air sacs, become plugged with connective tissue, preventing the respiration or the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the bronchioles and the surrounding lung tissue. Obliterans or obliterate is the occlusion of a part by degeneration, disease or surgery. Organizing refers to how the unresolved pneumonia forms in the tissues and alveoli, or air sacs. Pneumonia is the bacteria infection. So, BOOP is the inflammation of the bronchioles and surround lung tissue because of an unrelenting bacterial infection.

Symptoms of Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia

In some individuals, BOOP does not cause any symptoms at all. In others, symptoms include a dry, non-productive cough and breathlessness with exertion. Because of the bacterial pneumonia component, it can cause flu-like symptoms including a fever. Lung or breathing sounds through a stethoscope would sound like crackles throughout the lung. Crackles are heard upon inhalation when the alveoli are plugged and filled with fluid instead of air.

Causes of Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia

Some forms of BOOP have identifiable causes, such as:

  • Infections: BOOP sometimes occurs after people have had certain infections, including chlamydia, influenza or malaria.
  • Inflammatory disorders: The risk of BOOP appears to be heightened for people who have disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma.
  • Cancer treatment: People who have received certain types of chemotherapy or radiation to their chests sometimes develop BOOP.
  • Transplanted tissue: Bone marrow, lung, kidney and stem cell transplants sometimes trigger bronchiolitis obliterans with organizing pneumonia.
  • Drug exposure: Drugs that have been linked to BOOP include cocaine, gold salts, and some antibiotics and anti-seizure medications.

Diagnosis of Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia

Diagnosing BOOP can sometimes be difficult, as most patients see their physicians because of flu-like symptoms. However, most patients complain of having these symptoms longer than they normally experience with the actual flu. Laboratory tests will not directly identify the condition. Lung sounds reveal the sound of crackles through a stethoscope. An arterial blood gas will often show lower than normal blood oxygen levels, and spirometry will show a lower than normal lung volume. A chest X-ray often shows an extensive pneumonia with white patches in one or both of the lungs.

Treatment of Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia

It may take several weeks or even months of treatment to recover from BOOP, with prednisone being the drug of choice for this disorder. For some individuals, BOOP is resistant to treatment and gets worse. However, majority of patients are treated with corticosteroids. Approximately 30 percent of BOOP patients will have a relapse after discontinuing steroid treatment.