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Bronchiectasis refers to the dilatation of the smaller airways and thickening of their walls. These form pockets where the phlegm can collect and act as a seat of infection.

Patients with bronchiectasis may suffer from chronic cough productive of mucus, recurrent chest infections, shortness of breath and wheeze.

Causes may include:

  • Some forms of immune deficiency
  • Cystic fibrosis especially in childhood
  • Some inherited disorders
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
  • Mycobacterial infection
  • Past infections
  • Reflux may also play a role

Many times however cause is not found.

If you are diagnosed with bronchiectasis, the specialist may organize a number of tests to find out cause. This may include blood tests, sputum tests, CT scan of the chest, lung function tests and a bronchoscopy.

Bronchiectasis  is a chronic condition and management includes:

  • Early treatment of infections
  • Infection prevention–immunisation
  • Sputum clearance and chest physiotherapy
  • Inhalers may help
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Treatment of the underlying cause found
  • Surgery for patients with localised bronchiectasis
  • Long term antibiotics

The specialist will give you an action plan to manage your bronchiectasis properly.