Bronchiolitis obliterans is more than just a tongue-twisting medical term. It’s a growing concern in respiratory medicine, often leaving patients and clinicians alike perplexed. Let’s unravel this respiratory enigma.

Chronicles of ‘Popcorn Lung’

An odyssey into the annals of medical history reveals significant markers in the Bronchiolitis obliterans narrative.

From Popcorn Factories to Lungs

Ironically, this grievous disease owes its discovery to microwave popcorn. Workers who inhaled the flavouring chemical, diacetyl, presented with unique respiratory symptoms, leading to the condition’s informal title, ‘popcorn lung’.

Not Just About the Popcorn

Diacetyl isn’t solely the antagonist here. This chemical graces many flavourings beyond butter, causing similar afflictions in workers across different industries.

Anatomy of Affliction: How Bronchiolitis obliterans Strikes

Bronchioles: Gateways in Focus

Bronchioles, the lungs’ tiny airways, are the primary battleground. When toxins or infections assault these structures, the healing process sometimes overcompensates, laying down thick scars. This scar tissue barricades the bronchioles, impeding air flow and oxygen absorption, potentially snowballing into respiratory failure.

Culprits Behind Bronchiolitis obliterans

Beyond the infamous diacetyl, several substances and conditions underpin the disease’s development.

Unravelling Symptoms

Bronchiolitis obliterans is sneaky. While some may remain asymptomatic, others exhibit:

Diagnostic Dilemmas

Given its symptom similarity with other lung diseases, accurate diagnosis hinges on:

Battling Bronchiolitis obliterans

It’s irreversible, but not unbeatable. Early diagnosis improves therapeutic impacts.

FAQs: Dispelling Doubts

Q: Is ‘popcorn lung’ the same as Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia (COP)?
A: Nope! COP, formerly called BOOP, is a different lung condition altogether. Read more about interstitial lung disease here.

Q: Can you ‘grow out’ of Bronchiolitis obliterans?
A: Unfortunately, it’s a chronic condition. The aim is management, and improvement in quality of life, not cure.


Bronchiolitis obliterans is complex, stemming from varied causes and manifesting diversely. It’s not just a medical challenge, but a testament to resilience. In understanding its intricate tapestry, we arm ourselves better, ensuring each breath counts.


Schedule a Visit with Dr Ricardo Jose

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment

error: Content is protected !!