The condition is dense and irreversible, but completely treatable, usually with anti-inflammatories (Prednisone).
Obliterative bronchiolitis is a sign of rejection of a lung transplant and happens in about 50 percent of cases. Like BOOP, it is an inflammatory reaction, but in this case white blood cells get into the grafted or transplanted tissue, and as they build up, they end up blocking off the airway.
"OB is the major obstacle to prolonged survival following lung transplantation. Survival following lung transplantation is significantly poorer as compared to transplantation of other organs" (www.virtualmedicalcentre.com). Between 50 to 80 percent of patients have been diagnosed with this OB within five years of transplantation.
Risk factors include those patients who experience multiple or severe episodes of rejections especially shortly following transplantation, mismatched HLA (the component of the human body that determines transplant compatibility), pneumonia caused by the cytomegalovirus, or who have sustained injury to the airways or transplanted tissue.
This condition is progressive and will end in death, although the actual progression of the disease will vary from patient to patient. "The death rate at 3 years after the start of obliterative bronchiolitis is more than 50%. The survival rate at 5 years after the start of the disease is only 30 to 50%. Patients who develop obliterative bronchiolitis within the first three years after transplantation have a poorer outcome. A majority of these patients have a greater decline in lung function, greater need for oxygen and a higher rate of transplant failure (requiring transplantation) or death" (www.virtualmedicalcentre.com).
Treatment usually consists of oxygen supplementation, bronchodilators, immunosuppressants, and second transplants.
Sources: www.epler.com; http://emedicine.medscape.com; www.medscape.com; http://path.upmc.edu; www.virtualmedicalcentre.com; http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com