Bronchiectasis is a serious and chronic disease that warrants specialized care. It is characterized by enlargement, inflammation and chronic infection of the bronchi (the tubes that conduct air from the windpipe to the lung.) This can make regular breathing difficult and cause continued damage to the airways.
At the UConn Center for Bronchiectasis Care, we offer a comprehensive program to diagnose, evaluate and treat patients with bronchiectasis.
All patients will see a pulmonary specialist with expertise in caring for patients with bronchiectasis. Because clearance of the excessive mucus is often integral to the treatment and management of bronchiectasis, each patient will have the opportunity to meet with a respiratory therapist.
For some patients, additional consultations with specialists in immunology; infectious diseases; ear, nose and throat; or genetics will be recommended.
What Are the Symptoms of Bronchiectasis?
While most patients will not have all of these symptoms, the following are the most common:
- Chronic cough
- Sputum production
- Frequent episodes of lung infection
- Recurrent pneumonia
- Shortness of breath
- Occasional coughing up of blood
What Causes Bronchiectasis?
Prior severe viral or bacterial pulmonary infection is often the cause of irreversible damage to the bronchi, making the airways prone to chronic infection. Genetic conditions and immune system problems also can be factors. In some cases, no specific cause is found.
How Is Bronchiectasis Diagnosed?
The diagnosis is usually based on CT scan results and clinical history.
How Is Bronchiectasis Treated?
Several therapies have been shown to improve quality of life in bronchiectasis patients. The mainstays of treatment include techniques for clearing mucus and the careful use of antibiotics. Newer therapies are being studied and the Center hopes to be able to offer promising experimental therapies as they become available.