Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a condition characterised by an exaggerated response of the immune system (a hypersensitivity response) to the fungus Aspergillus (most commonly Aspergillus fumigatus). It occurs most often in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis. Aspergillus spores are ubiquitous in soil and are commonly found in the sputum of healthy individuals. A. fumigatus is responsible for a spectrum of lung diseases known as aspergilloses.
ABPA causes airway inflammation, leading to bronchiectasis—a condition marked by abnormal dilation of the airways. Left untreated, the immune system and fungal spores can damage sensitive lung tissues and lead to scarring.
The exact criteria for the diagnosis of ABPA are not agreed upon. Chest X-rays and CT scans, raised blood levels of IgE and eosinophils, immunological tests for Aspergillus together with sputum staining and sputum cultures can be useful. Treatment consists of corticosteroids and antifungal medications.