What is it?

Bronchiectasis is a chronic, abnormal enlargement and thickening of the airways (particularly the bronchi). Bronchiectasis is caused by prolonged or recurrent inflammation, which causes damage to the airways. The result is the production of a thick mucus that does not evacuate properly, and tends to trap bacteria - a process that exacerbates the inflammation process. There are different causes of bronchiectasis, including recurring lung infections, cystic fibrosis, Immunodeficiency diseases and more. Since bronchiectasis is a chronic condition that worsens over time, it is important to identify and treat it early and thus prevent infections and slow down the damaging processes.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Bronchiectasis with Acute Exacerbation

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of bronchiectasis are shortness of breath and a persistent productive cough accompanied by purulent mucus. Since people with bronchiectasis are more likely to get lung infections or bronchitis, they tend to experience symptoms such as fever, chills, and exacerbation of cough and mucus production. A typical sign of bronchiectasis is thickening of the skin under the fingernails, called clubbing.


Diagnosis of bronchiectasis may require the following tests:
- Blood tests
- An imaging of the lungs, usually a chest X-ray and/or chest CT.
- Pulmonary function tests (spirometry).
- Bronchoscopy, a test in which a thin, flexible tube is used to look inside the airways.
- Additional tests may be needed to identify the underlying cause of the bronchiectasis (for example, a sweat test that look for cystic fibrosis).


The goal of bronchiectasis treatment is to prevent respiratory infections, reduce airway inflammation and help clear up excess mucus.
- Avoiding lung infections: Lung infections can cause exacerbations and complications. Certain vaccines, such as flu and pneumonia vaccines, are especially important for people with bronchiectasis. Antibiotics are usually designated to treat bacterial respiratory infections, but can also be used to prevent them.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: This is a personalized treatment program that teaches exercises that can help clear up the airways and ease symptoms.
- Medications: Different drugs are designated to treat inflammation, lower mucus viscosity, and dilate the airways. Some medications are given by inhalation using an inhaler.
- surgery: There are surgical treatment methods for patients whose pulmonary function cannot be improved in any other way. These treatments include removing involved areas of the lung or lung transplantation.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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