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Bronchiectasis is a chronic disease where irreversible dilatation of the airways occurs due to damage of the lining of the airways.
Bronchiectasis can occur from early childhood through to older age. This may be associated with other respiratory conditions such as COPD or it can be a condition that occurs independently.
The diagnosis will be made by taking a thorough history, a high resolution CT scan and possibly sputum sampling.
The main symptoms associate with bronchiectasis will usually be persistent cough with production of phlegm. This often leads to frequent infections requiring treatment with antibiotics.
Due to it being a chronic condition it is a matter of managing the symptoms and trying to prevent infective exacerbations. This is achieved by physiotherapy techniques such as postural drainage, devices to aid expectoration and when necessary treatment with antibiotics.
In some patients a long-term intravenous catheter maybe implanted so that regular cycles of antibiotics maybe given via this route. In other patients nebulised antibiotics will be used. In certain instances surgery maybe an option to remove certain areas of the lung.