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Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is a disease where there is permanent enlargement of parts of the airways of the lung.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis (brong-ke-EK-tah-sis) is a condition in which damage to the airways causes them to widen and become flabby and scarred. The airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs.

Bronchiectasis often is caused by an infection or other condition that injures the walls of the airways or prevents the airways from clearing mucus. Mucus is a slimy substance. It helps remove inhaled dust, bacteria, and other small particles from the airways.

In bronchiectasis, your airways slowly lose their ability to clear out mucus. The mucus builds up, and bacteria begin to grow. This leads to repeated, serious lung infections.

Each infection causes more damage to the airways. Over time, the airways can't properly move air in and out of the lungs. As a result, the body's vital organs might not get enough oxygen.

Bronchiectasis can lead to serious health problems, such as respiratory failure,... Read more about Bronchiectasis

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Leukotriene receptor antagonists for non‐cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis

Leukotriene receptor antagonists are a new class of drug which may have an anti‐inflammatory action in some patients with asthma. In theory they may also be of benefit in bronchiectasis, but no randomised controlled trials have yet been reported so it is not possible to make a recommendation about their use in this condition.

Oral corticosteroids for bronchiectasis (stable and acute exacerbations)

Bronchiectasis is a chronic respiratory disease. People with the condition experience difficulty in clearing mucus from their lungs, leaving them prone to infections. Oral steroids have a place in the management of acute and severe asthma. In bronchiectasis, inhaled steroids have small benefits but there is no evidence for or against the use of oral steroids for this condition.

Long‐acting beta2‐agonists for bronchiectasis

Long‐acting bronchodilators are used in asthma, so may also benefit people with bronchiectasis. However, there is no good evidence for this at present.

See all (44)

Summaries for consumers

Leukotriene receptor antagonists for non‐cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis

Leukotriene receptor antagonists are a new class of drug which may have an anti‐inflammatory action in some patients with asthma. In theory they may also be of benefit in bronchiectasis, but no randomised controlled trials have yet been reported so it is not possible to make a recommendation about their use in this condition.

Oral corticosteroids for bronchiectasis (stable and acute exacerbations)

Bronchiectasis is a chronic respiratory disease. People with the condition experience difficulty in clearing mucus from their lungs, leaving them prone to infections. Oral steroids have a place in the management of acute and severe asthma. In bronchiectasis, inhaled steroids have small benefits but there is no evidence for or against the use of oral steroids for this condition.

Long‐acting beta2‐agonists for bronchiectasis

Long‐acting bronchodilators are used in asthma, so may also benefit people with bronchiectasis. However, there is no good evidence for this at present.

See all (23)

Terms to know

Atelectasis
Atelectasis is a condition in which one or more areas of your lungs collapse or don't inflate properly.
Bronchi
The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.
Heart Failure
A chronic condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Infection
The invasion and growth of germs in the body. The germs may be bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, or other microorganisms.
Lungs
One of a pair of organs in the chest that supplies the body with oxygen, and removes carbon dioxide from the body.
Mucus
A thick, slippery fluid made by the membranes that line certain organs of the body, including the nose, mouth, throat, and vagina.
Respiratory Failure
Respiratory failure is a condition in which not enough oxygen passes from your lungs into your blood.

More about Bronchiectasis

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Other terms to know: See all 7
Atelectasis, Bronchi, Heart Failure

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