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What is an aspergilloma?

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Aspergillosis is an infection caused by a type of mold called aspergillus. It usually affects your lungs.

Aspergillus, the mold that causes aspergillosis, is quite common. You can find it everywhere, indoors and out. Tiny bits of the mold, called spores, float in the air. Most of us can breathe in these spores without any problem.

A type of aspergillosis called chronic pulmonary aspergillosis -- meaning you have it for more than 3 months -- can lead to aspergillomas, also known as or fungus balls or fungal balls. These slow-growing tangled balls are made up of mold fibers, mucus, white blood cells, and bits of clotted blood.

They form in air pockets in your lungs and get bigger over time. They may not cause symptoms for years, but you could notice:

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue

SOURCES:

National Organization for Rare Disorders: “Aspergillosis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Aspergillosis.”

American Thoracic Society: “Aspergillosis.”

CDC: “Aspergillosis.”

Merck Manual: “Aspergillosis.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 23, 2020

SOURCES:

National Organization for Rare Disorders: “Aspergillosis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Aspergillosis.”

American Thoracic Society: “Aspergillosis.”

CDC: “Aspergillosis.”

Merck Manual: “Aspergillosis.”

Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner on April 23, 2020

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How is aspergillosis diagnosed?

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