By Tash Hughes of
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
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 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
scans will show shadows on the lungs, and these shadows
usually worsen as the patient takes antibiotics.
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?
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
Exposure to toxins and fumes, especially NO2 and old
textile dye processes
Can it be treated?
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.
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 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.
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