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Bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as Obliterative bronchiolitis (BO or OB), is a rare lung disease that affects children of various ages and causes permanent irreversible scarring of the airways in the lungs.  Because this diagnosis is so rare and varied in its causes, it is has been difficult to make advances in the care.

Bronchiolitis obliterans (OB) occurs when the airways become inflamed and the body reacts by replacing the airways with scar tissue which destroys the function of the airways.  When this scarring occurs, obstructive lung disease develops, which alters the flow of oxygen to the tiny air sacs (alveoli),that function in gas exchange to get oxygen to the body. We don’t understand why certain children react to common respiratory exposures in such a harmful way, but BO can lead to alteration of lung function in the affected areas of the lung resulting in shortness of breath, labored breathing, low oxygen saturations, increased risk of chest infections and in severe cases the need for aggressive intervention to support respiratory function.

Treatment depends on many factors, but is focused on supporting the function of the respiratory system and reducing the inflammation that leads to the development of scar tissue.  The outcome of Bronchiolitis obliterans is dependent on how extensive this damage is within the lung and/or how long the inflammation continues past the initial exposure.  Currently, there are NO FDA approved treatments for Bronchiolitis Obliterans and much more research needs to be done to understand and treat this potentially devastating disease.