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Bronchoalveolitis Leading to Bronchitis and Pneumonia

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bronchoalveolitisWhat Is Lymphocytic Bronchoalveolitis?

Lymphocytic bronchoalveolitis is a pulmonary disorder characterized by lymphocytic airway inflammation of the bronchi (main passageways branching from the windpipe), bronchioles (small passageways), and alveoli (air sacs) at the end.

The chronic, productive cough that develops and worsens with progression is due to increased mucus secretion in the large and small airways.

If infection develops in the bronchioles, it is call bronchopneumonia. If infection develops in the alveoli, it is called interstitial pneumonia. The most common organism causing infection is staphylcoccus aureus.

Q: What effect does inflammation have on the lungs?

A: Alveoli are air sacs, each only one cell thick, where oxygen is obtained by the bloodsteam from air breathed into them and carbon dioxide is released from the bloodstream to air that is breathed out of air sacs. Two things happen:

  1. Inflammation  impairs exchange of gases in alveoli, resulting in lack of sufficient oxygen (O2) for body cell functions, called hypoxia, and build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2) in blood, called CO2 retention.
  2. Inflammation narrows passageways, which reduces the movement of air to and from the alveoli, and this puts stress on the right side of the heart.

Lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell, can be collected and assessed by a procedure called bronchoalveolar lavage to determine the degree of involvement.

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