Bronchiolitis Obliterans: Symptoms & Diagnosis Make an Appointment Refer a Patient Ask a Question Reviewed by Cecile S. Rose, MD, MPH (May 01, 2012) Bronchiolitis obliterans usually causes a dry cough and shortness of breath, especially on exertion, two to eight weeks after toxic fume exposure or a respiratory illness. It may be several months or years until it presents itself after a transplant. Fatigue and wheezing in the absence of a cold or asthma are other symptoms of this lung disease. Imaging tests (such as high resolution chest CT scan) and pulmonary function tests can help detect bronchiolitis obliterans. Chest x-rays are usually normal, and pulmonary function tests may decline slowly in some types of bronchiolitis obliterans, requiring repeat medical testing and follow up. A surgical lung biopsy, however, is the most definitive way to diagnose the disease. Bronchiolitis Obliterans: Treatment Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.