Bronchiolitis obliterans

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2003 Dec;25(3):259-74. doi: 10.1385/CRIAI:25:3:259.


Bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) is a disease of small airways that results in progressive dyspnea and airflow limitation. It is a common sequela of bone marrow, lung, and heart-lung transplantation, but can also occur as a complication of certain pulmonary infections, adverse drug reaction, toxic inhalation, and autoimmune disorders. Non-transplant-related BO is rare and can mimic asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In transplant-related BO, the diagnosis can be suggested by obstructive changes in serial pulmonary function testings, while open lung biopsy is usually required in non-transplant cases. High-resolution computerized tomography (HRCT) is also a helpful tool to diagnose and assess the severity of BO. The treatment of BO, regarding of the cause, is usually disappointing. Systemic corticosteroid immunosuppression and retransplantation have been described with variable success.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans* / classification
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans* / etiology
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans* / pathology
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans* / therapy
  • Humans