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Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA)

by Matthew C. Miles, MD, Stephen P. Peters, MD, PhD

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a hypersensitivity reaction to Aspergillus species (generally A. fumigatus) that occurs almost exclusively in patients with asthma or, less commonly, cystic fibrosis. Immune responses to Aspergillus antigens cause airway obstruction and, if untreated, bronchiectasis and pulmonary fibrosis. Symptoms and signs are those of asthma with the addition of productive cough and, occasionally, fever and anorexia. Diagnosis is suspected based on history and imaging tests and confirmed by Aspergillus skin testing and measurement of IgE levels, circulating precipitins, and A. fumigatus–specific antibodies. Treatment is with corticosteroids and, in patients with refractory disease, itraconazole.

ABPA develops when airways of patients with asthma or cystic fibrosis become colonized with Aspergillus sp (ubiquitous fungi in the soil).

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