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Bronchiolitis Obliterans: Treatment

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This information was reviewed and approved by Cecile S. Rose, MD, MPH (5/1/2012).

The disease is irreversible. Treatment, however, can help to stabilize or at least slow its progression. For that reason, it is important to recognize bronchiolitis obliterans early because intervention in the late stages of the disease may prove ineffective.

Treatment usually involves medication therapy, primarily the use of corticosteroids. In some cases, immunosuppressive therapies, which decrease the body's immune response, and lung transplants are used to treat the disease.

In the case of toxic exposures, immediate removal from the irritating environment is crucial to slowing progression of the disease. 

If left untreated, bronchiolitis obliterans can be fatal. It is the primary cause of death following a lung or heart-lung transplant.

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