Bronchiectasis (destruction of bronchial tube)

Chest | Pulmonology | Bronchiectasis (destruction of bronchial tube) (Disease)


Bronchiectasis is an abnormal widening of the larger airways in the lungs called bronchi, caused by destruction of the muscle and elastic tissue, causing a persistent cough with large amounts of sputum.

Symptoms often develop gradually, and may occur months or years after the event that causes the bronchiectasis. They may include: bluish skin color, breath odor, chronic cough with large amounts of foul-smelling sputum, clubbing of fingers, coughing up blood, cough that gets worse when lying on one side, fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath that gets worse with exercise, weight loss and wheezing.

Causes and Risk factors

Bronchiectasis has both congenital and acquired causes. Congenital bronchiectasis may occur due to a genetic defect such as occurs in cystic fibrosis. An embryological defect in the airway cilia, so-called immotile cilia syndrome, is another cause of bronchiectasis and is often associated with situs inversus, in which the major organs are in a reversed position for example if the heart is on the right.

Acquired causes include conditions such as: pneumonia and other opportunistic infections, tuberculosis, respiratory infections, obstructions, inhalation and aspiration of ammonia and other toxic gases, pulmonary aspiration, alcoholism, heroin use, various allergies, and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.

Bronchiectasis can sometimes be an unusual complication of inflammatory bowel disease, especially ulcerative colitis. A Hiatal hernia can cause Bronchiectasis when the stomach acid that is aspirated into the lungs causes tissue damage.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Investigations include auscultation, chest X-ray, chest CT, sputum culture, genetic tests. Treatment is aimed at controlling infections and bronchial secretions, relieving airway obstruction, and preventing complications. ...