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The spectrum of bronchiolitis is broad and heterogeneous. In deciphering the potential significance of bronchiolitis, it is useful to distinguish the primary bronchiolitis in which the bronchiolar involvement is the dominant pathologic process from disorders with bronchiolar pathology secondary to other lung diseases. Primary bronchiolar disorders include acute bronchiolitis, constrictive bronchiolitis, follicular bronchiolitis, respiratory bronchiolitis, diffuse panbronchiolitis, mineral dust airway disease, and peribronchiolar metaplasia.
Interstitial lung diseases with prominent bronchiolar involvement include smoking-related interstitial diseases, cryptogenic organizing pneumonia, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. These types of bronchiolitis are considered in other chapters. Finally, bronchiolitis can also be seen in chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, and asthma.