What is bronchiectasis?Bronchiectasis is a disorder of the airways within the lungs. Inflammation and infections cause damage to the airways with alteration in the lining layer of the airways. The airways become distorted and enlarged. Enlargement can be uniform or irregular. Mucus can collect in the airways and is difficult to clear because of the damage to the normal ways the airways
clear mucus. This can lead to episodes of infection. Bronchiectasis may be focal and limited to a single segment or lobe of the lung, or it may be widespread and affect multiple lobes in one or both lungs. Bronchiectasis may be unilateral or bilateral; it is most common in the lower lobes, although the right middle lobe and lingular portion of the left upper lobe are often affected. The traditional classification as cylindrical, varicose, or saccular is based on the pathologic and bronchographic appearance.
Bronchiectasis is an abnormal stretching and enlarging of the respiratory passages caused by mucus blockage. When the body is unable to get rid of mucus, mucus becomes stuck and accumulates in the airways. The blockage causes inflammation, leading to the weakening and widening of the passages. The weakened passages can become scarred and deformed, allowing more mucus and bacteria to accumulate, resulting in a cycle of infection and blocked airways. Chronic respiratory infection and the inflammatory response to the infection play key roles in the pathogenesis (development) of bronchiectasis. Immunodeficiency, cystic fibrosis, and primary ciliary dyskinesia (hereditary dysfunction of the cilia) predispose to bronchiectasis. Rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly ulcerative colitis, are also associated with bronchiectasis.