Bronchiectasis is often caused by inflammation or infection of the airways that keeps coming back. Sometimes it begins in childhood after having a severe lung infection or inhaling a foreign object.
Cystic fibrosis causes about a third of all bronchiectasis cases in the United States. Certain genetic conditions can also cause bronchiectasis. These conditions include primary ciliary dyskinesia and immunodeficiency syndromes.
The condition can also occur when people often breathe in food particles while eating.
Symptoms develop over time. They may occur months or years after the event that causes the bronchiectasis.
There is a change in the color or amount of phlegm you cough up, or if it is bloody
Other symptoms get worse or do not improve with treatment
You can reduce your risk by promptly treating lung infections.
Childhood vaccines and a yearly flu vaccine help reduce the chance of some infections. Avoiding upper respiratory infections, smoking, and pollution may also reduce your risk of getting this infection.
Feldman C. Bronchiectasis: new approaches to diagnosis and management. Clin Chest Med. 2011;32:535-546.
Iseman MD, Chan ED. Bronchiectasis. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus CV, Martin TR, et al., eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 42.
Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.