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How is bronchitis diagnosed?

Diagnosis of bronchitis is based on observing the patient's symptoms and health history. The physician will listen to the patient's chest with a stethoscope for specific sounds that indicate lung inflammation, such as moist rales and crackling, and wheezing, that indicates airway narrowing. Moist rales is a bubbling sound heard with a stethoscope that is caused by fluid secretion in the bronchial tubes. A chest x-ray to rule out other diseases or complications is indicated if symptoms are severe or prolonged. Arterial blood gases should be monitored when serious underlying chronic respiratory disease is present. For patients who do not respond to antibiotics or who have special clinical circumstances (eg, immunosuppression), Gram stain and sputum culture should be performed to determine the causative organism.

More information on bronchitis

What is bronchitis? - Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, or bronchi, that bring air into the lungs. Chronic bronchitis is a sign of serious lung disease.
What is acute bronchitis? - Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, but can also be caused by a bacterial infection and can heal without complications.
What is chronic bronchitis? - Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi, the main air passages in the lungs, which persists for a long period or repeatedly recurs.
What causes bronchitis? - Bronchitis is usually caused by infection with a virus. Several viruses cause bronchitis, including influenza A and B.
What're the symptoms of bronchitis? - Symptoms of acute bronchitis usually begins with the symptoms of a cold, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and dry cough.
How is bronchitis diagnosed? - Diagnosis of bronchitis is based on observing the patient's symptoms and health history. Arterial blood gases should be monitored.
What's the treatment for bronchitis? - Conventional treatment for acute bronchitis may consist of simple measures such as getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, avoiding smoke and fumes.
How to prevent bronchitis? - Good hygiene can reduce the spread of viral infection. Immunizations against influenza and pertussis can reduce the risk for bacterial bronchitis.
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