Adult bronchiolitis causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Hadeel Maksoud M.D.[2]


Common causes of bronchiolitis include inhalational injury, viral, and drug induced, such as, mineral dusts, diacetyl, RSV and busulfan. Less common causes include heart/lung/kidney transplant, rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.


Life-threatening Causes

  • Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
  • Life-threatening causes of adult bronchiolitis include irritant gases such as chlorine and mustard gas.

Common Causes

Adult bronchiolitis may be caused by:

Less Common Causes

Less common causes of bronchiolitis include:

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Heart transplant
Chemical/Poisoning Toxic fumes, mineral dusts, irritant gases; chlorine, ammonia, mustard gas, welding vapors, paraquat, diacetyl
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic Sjögren's syndrome, dermatomyositis, paraneoplastic pemphigus
Drug Side Effect Busulfan, cocaine, gold, nimesulide, penicillamine, papaverine, rituximab, sulfasalazine, sulfamethoxypyridazine
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Primary biliary cholangitis, ulcerative colitis
Genetic Ataxia telangiectasia
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), adenovirus, rhinovirus, measles, mumps, varicella zoster, CMV (cytomegalovirus), HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), bordetella pertussis, mycoplasma pneumonia, nocardia
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional/Metabolic Lysinuric protein intolerance
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Paraneoplastic pemphigus, malignant histiocytosis
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity Toxic fumes, mineral dusts, irritant gases; chlorine, ammonia, mustard gas, welding vapors, paraquat, diacetyl, busulfan, cocaine, gold, nimesulide, penicillamine, papaverine, rituximab, sulfasalazine, sulfamethoxypyridazine
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary ARDS (adult respiratory distress syndrome), lung transplant
Renal/Electrolyte Kidney transplant
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Wegener's granulomatosis (granulomatosis with polyangiitis), churg-strauss syndrome (eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis), rheumatoid arthritis, sjögren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyositis, dermatomyositis
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Cryptogenic bronchiolitis obliterans

Causes in Alphabetical Order

List the causes of the disease in alphabetical order.


  1. Hendrick DJ (March 2008). ""Popcorn worker's lung" in Britain in a man making potato crisp flavouring". Thorax. 63 (3): 267–8. doi:10.1136/thx.2007.089607. PMID 18308961.
  2. van Rooy FG, Rooyackers JM, Prokop M, Houba R, Smit LA, Heederik DJ (September 2007). "Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in chemical workers producing diacetyl for food flavorings". Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 176 (5): 498–504. doi:10.1164/rccm.200611-1620OC. PMID 17541015.
  3. Hsiue TR, Guo YL, Chen KW, Chen CW, Lee CH, Chang HY (January 1998). "Dose-response relationship and irreversible obstructive ventilatory defect in patients with consumption of Sauropus androgynus". Chest. 113 (1): 71–6. PMID 9440571.
  4. Lockey JE, Hilbert TJ, Levin LP, Ryan PH, White KL, Borton EK, Rice CH, McKay RT, LeMasters GK (July 2009). "Airway obstruction related to diacetyl exposure at microwave popcorn production facilities". Eur. Respir. J. 34 (1): 63–71. doi:10.1183/09031936.00050808. PMID 19567602.
  5. Harber P, Levine J, Bansal S (October 2009). "How frequently should workplace spirometry screening be performed?: optimization via analytic models". Chest. 136 (4): 1086–1094. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0237. PMID 19411294.
  6. "Obliterative bronchiolitis in workers in a coffee-processing facility - Texas, 2008-2012". MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 62 (16): 305–7. April 2013. PMC 4604960. PMID 23615673.
  7. Ghanei M, Tazelaar HD, Chilosi M, Harandi AA, Peyman M, Akbari HM, Shamsaei H, Bahadori M, Aslani J, Mohammadi A (June 2008). "An international collaborative pathologic study of surgical lung biopsies from mustard gas-exposed patients". Respir Med. 102 (6): 825–30. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2008.01.016. PMID 18339530.
  8. King MS, Eisenberg R, Newman JH, Tolle JJ, Harrell FE, Nian H, Ninan M, Lambright ES, Sheller JR, Johnson JE, Miller RF (July 2011). "Constrictive bronchiolitis in soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan". N. Engl. J. Med. 365 (3): 222–30. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1101388. PMC 3296566. PMID 21774710.