Suppurative Lung Disease Including Bronchiectasis

What is Bronchiectasis?

  • Bronchiectasis or suppurative lung disease is a condition where the airways inside the lungs gets dilated. The lining inside the airways also gets diseased and swollen. As a result a lot of mucus gets trapped inside these dilated airways. This extra mucus leads to frequent infections in the lungs.
  • These infections can lead to further damage to the airways.

Is it different from bronchial asthma?

Yes. In asthma the airways are not dilated and damaged, they are just inflamed. Some children can have both asthma and bronchiectasis.

What are the causes of childhood bronchiectasis?

More common causes includes a bad pneumonia, tuberculosis or measles. Other less common causes includes immune-deficiency, HIV, fungal infections like aspergillosis.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Children with bronchiectasis have a wet sounding cough lasting for weeks to months. This is due to the extra mucus or phlegm in the airways.
  • Children can develop added infections called as exacerbations. During these periods cough can get worse, the phlegm can change colour from clear to yellow or dark green, and child can get fever.

What investigations are required?

  • Chest Xray might be suggestive but may not be able to confirm the diagnosis. CT Scan of the chest are required for confirmation of the diagnosis.
  • Additional tests are required for evaluating the cause of bronchiectasis. It includes: immune deficiency workup, HIV, workup for tuberculosis, etc.
  • Further investigations which might be required are: flexible bronchoscopy, sputum cultures, pulmonary function testing etc.

How do we treat bronchiectasis?

Chest physiotherapy and treatment of infections are the mainstay of therapy.  Additional treatment depends on the underlying condition.