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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.

More information on bronchiectasis

What is bronchiectasis? - Bronchiectasis is an abnormal stretching and enlarging of the respiratory passages caused by mucus blockage.
What causes bronchiectasis? - Bronchiectasis is caused by recurrent inflammation or infection of the airways. The most common cause is severe respiratory infections.
What're the symptoms of bronchiectasis? - The most common symptoms of bronchiectasis are cough with sputum production. Dry bronchiectasis patient frequently cough up blood.
How is bronchiectasis diagnosed? - The diagnosis of bronchiectasis can be suspected by the physician if he hears abnormal crackling sounds when listening to the lungs.
What's the treatment for bronchiectasis? - Treatment of bronchiectasis is directed against infections, secretions, airway obstruction, and complications.
How to prevent bronchiectasis? - The risk of bronchiectasis may be reduced if lung infections are promptly treated. Prompt removal of an inhaled foreign body can prevent bronchiectasis.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005