Study objective: The purpose of this study is to determine factors, including laboratory data, related to the relapse of bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (BOOP).
Design: Retrospective study.
Setting and Patients: The medical files of Fukuoka University Hospital and Nishi Fukuoka Hospital patients from 1984 to 1996 were reviewed, and 18 cases of BOOP that had been diagnosed using transbronchial or open lung biopsy were selected for evaluation.
Measurements: The 18 cases were put into two groups composed of 7 patients who relapsed and 11 who did not relapse. Their clinical symptoms and laboratory data at first admission, including hemograms, blood chemistry tests, and pulmonary function tests were compared. Patients with or without associated diseases, such as collagen vascular diseases, were compared using the same parameters in order to examine the relationship between the associated diseases and BOOP relapse.
Results: The serum levels of total protein and albumin in patients who relapsed were significantly lower than in patients who did not relapse, respectively: 5.8 (range, 4.4 to 6.2) vs 6.3 (range, 4.5 to 6.8) g/dL, p < 0.05; and 2.9 (range, 2.5 to 3.4) vs 3.7 (range, 2.8 to 4.3) g/dL, p < 0.01. Levels of serum albumin in BOOP patients with associated diseases, however, were significantly lower than in those without associated diseases, respectively: 2.95 (range, 2.5 to 3.9) vs 3.65 (range, 2.8 to 4.3) mg/dL, p < 0.05. The fall in serum albumin levels in patients who relapsed, therefore, was probably due to associated diseases. The fact that 5 of 8 patients with associated diseases relapsed but only 2 of 10 without associated diseases relapsed suggests that a relationship exists between associated diseases and the prognosis of BOOP, although this finding was not statistically significant because of the small number of cases and the heterogeneity of the associated diseases. The most striking observation was that PaO2 levels in patients who relapsed were significantly lower than in those who did not, respectively: 55.4 (range, 39.9 to 73.2) vs 78.0 (range, 48.4 to 89.4) mm Hg, p < 0.05. However, PaO2 levels were not statistically different between patients with and without associated diseases, respectively: 66.0 (range, 45.4 to 78.8) vs 71.4 (range, 39.9 to 89.4) mm Hg.
Conclusions: The severity of hypoxemia at first medical examination may be an important determinant for the subsequent BOOP relapse.