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By Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Boop stands for Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia, which is a disease affecting the lungs. While it is not a common disease, it does occur around the world.

What it is?

Despite its name, BOOP is not a form of pneumonia, nor is it an infection at all. It was first noticed in 1901 but not fully described until 1985 by Dr Epler.

BOOP can occur in anyone, but people aged 40 to 60 are most likely to have the disease. Only a handful of children have had BOOP, and all had other medical issues, such as transplants or chemotherapy. About 6 or 7 people in every 100,000 people are expected to develop BOOP.

BOOP resembles viral pneumonia and can go on for months. The main symptoms of BOOP are shortness of breath and a persistent, non-productive cough. Nearly half of the patients will feel like they have the flu with fevers, fatigue, weight loss and general aches and pains.

There is a swelling (or inflammation) of the small airways (bronchioles) in the lungs and the surrounding tissue. It can be localised or affect a large part of the lung(s).

CT scans will show shadows on the lungs, and these shadows usually worsen as the patient takes antibiotics.

It is not easy to diagnose BOOP. After a CT scan, a biopsy will confirm that the shadows are caused by BOOP rather than other issues.

What causes it?

In about 50% of all cases, there is no known cause of BOOP Ė this is called idiopathic BOOP. It can not be caught from someone else and canít be passed down in families.

Conditions and circumstances that have been shown to be associated with BOOP include:

  • A heart-lung, lung or bone marrow transplant
  • infection by a virus or unusual bacteria
  • Anti-cancer medications such as chemo therapy
  • Long term use of antibiotics
  • Illicit use of cocaine
  • Some connective tissue  disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Exposure to toxins and fumes, especially NO2 and old textile dye processes

Can it be treated?

If it is identified relatively early, BOOP can be treated for most patients; if left too long, the lungs will have scar tissue and treatments are ineffective.

Of people with idiopathic BOOP, about 65% will be completely cured, 20% will be left with scarred lung tissue and 3 Ė 10% will die. People with BOOP after a bone marrow transplant donít always respond as well to the treatments.

The most effective treatment is the use of corticosteroids, often showing a dramatic improvement within one or two days. Following a heart-lung or lung transplant, the addition of immunosuppressants is also effective to cure BOOP.

Sometimes the treatment doesnít appear to be effective because there is an underlying infection as well which needs to be treated as well.

Other treatments have been used successfully on individuals but further research is required before these treatments are known as useful.


Clear communication is critical to the success of any business, but it is often left to care for itself in many businesses. Tash Hughes is a microbiologist, and a professional and skilled writer who makes technical and otherwise boring information accessible for everyone a business needs to communicate with. Next time you need webcopy, articles, newsletters, reports or any other business document, visit www.wordconstructions.com.au to see how Tash and her team can help your business succeed.



© 2007, Tash Hughes

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