Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is an allergic condition of the lungs caused by the fungus, Aspergillus.
This fungus causes inflammation (swelling), airway obstruction and mucus plugging. Eventually, this can lead to bronchiectasis (abnormal widening of the bronchial tubes), fibrosis (scarring) of the lungs and impaired respiratory function.
ABPA usually occurs in individuals with asthma or cystic fibrosis. The typical symptoms are asthma, coughing that produces brown mucus and occasionally blood, fever and a general sense of not feeling well. Patients with uncontrolled asthma and cystic fibrosis should undergo evaluation for ABPA. The diagnostic evaluation includes blood tests such as eosinophils (white blood cell count), antibody levels for Aspergillus, skin testing for Aspergillus and a high resolution CT scan of the chest.
Treatment of ABPA typically includes oral steroids (such as prednisone) for several weeks, sometimes in conjunction with an antifungal medication. Newer treatments including biologics are being clinically evaluated in patients with ABPA.