What is bronchiectasis?

Updated: Jul 23, 2019
  • Author: Ethan E Emmons, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Bronchiectasis is an uncommon disease, most often secondary to an infectious process, that results in the abnormal and permanent distortion of one or more of the conducting bronchi or airways. First described by Laennec in 1819, later detailed by Sir William Osler in the late 1800s, and further defined by Reid in the 1950s, bronchiectasis has undergone significant changes in regard to its prevalence, etiology, presentation, and treatment. [9]

Bronchiectasis can be categorized as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease manifested by airways that are inflamed and easily collapsible, resulting in air flow obstruction with shortness of breath, impaired clearance of secretions (often with disabling cough), and occasionally hemoptysis. Severe cases can result in progressive impairment with respiratory failure. [10, 11]


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