Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is an allergic lung disorder. It is related to the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (AF). Aspergillosis can also occur as:
ABPA is caused by an allergic reaction to inhaled AF. AF is a common fungus. It grows and flourishes in decaying vegetation, soil, certain foods, dust, and water. The allergic reaction worsens respiratory symptoms in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis . The inhaled AF colonizes mucus in the lungs, causing:
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A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition. Risk factors for ABPA include:
Symptoms of ABPA are usually those of progressive asthma. These include:
As ABPA progresses, other symptoms may occur, including:
In severe, long-term cases, ABPA can cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include:
Since ABPA can appear quite similar to non-ABPA induced asthma, it is often difficult to determine to what extent ABPA is contributing to your symptoms. Therefore, ABPA is typically diagnosed after several repeat tests for ABPA are positive over a number of months or years.
The goals of treatment include:
ABPA is usually treated with:
Avoiding exposure to AF is the best way to prevent ABPA. However, this is difficult, because AF is so prevalent in the environment. Guidelines to help prevent exposure to AF include:
Measures to avoid symptoms and prevent permanent lung damage caused by ABPA include:
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases
The Canadian Lung Association
Ferri FF. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2007. 9th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 2007.
Mayo Clinic and Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu/ .
The Merck Manual of Medical Information . 2nd ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2004.
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov .
Wark PA, Gibson PG, Wilson AJ. Azoles for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis associated with asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004; (3): CD001108.
Last reviewed [Under Medical Review] by Tajender S. Vasu, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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