- Inflammation of the bronchioles, part of the respiratory tree. The bronchioles are part of the airways that extend beyond the bronchi and terminate in the alveoli where oxygen exchange occurs. Bronchiolitis is most commonly due to viral infections.
* * *Inflammation of the bronchioles, often associated with bronchopneumonia. [bronchiole + -itis, inflammation]- constrictive b. obliteration of bronchioles by scarring following b. obliterans. Cf.:proliferative b..- b. fibrosa obliterans obstruction of bronchioles and alveolar ducts by fibrous granulation tissue induced by mucosal ulceration; the condition may follow inhalation of irritant gases (see silo-filler's lung) or may complicate pneumonia (see BOOP); associated with obstructive findings (see unilateral hyperlucent lung, Swyer-James syndrome). SYN: b. obliterans.- b. obliterans with organizing pneumonia (BOOP) b. fibrosa obliterans complicated by pneumonia with organization.- proliferative b. b. with obliteration of bronchiolar lumen and alveoli by epithelial proliferation, which may follow influenza and giant cell pneumonia.
* * *bron·chi·ol·itis -ō-'līt-əs n inflammation of the bronchioles
* * *n.inflammation of the small airways in the lungs (the bronchiole) due to viral infection, usually the respiratory syncytial virus. Bronchiolitis occurs in epidemics and is commonest in infants of less than one year. The bronchioles become swollen, the lining cells die, and the tubes become blocked with debris and mucopus. This prevents air reaching the alveoli and the child becomes short of oxygen (hypoxic) and breathless. In mild cases no treatment is necessary; more severe cases require supportive treatment - administration of oxygen and feeding via a nasogastric tube. Antibiotics are indicated only if there is evidence of a secondary infection. If the child is particularly vulnerable, specific treatment with ribavirin or artifical ventilation may be beneficial. Recurrent attacks of bronchiolitis may herald the onset of asthma.
* * *bron·chi·o·li·tis (brong″ke-o-liґtis) [bronchiol- + -itis] inflammation of the bronchioles, usually occurring in children less than 2 years old and resulting from a viral infection, particularly with respiratory syncytial virus. See also bronchopneumonia.
Medical dictionary. 2011.