Bronchiectasis Can Cause Frequent Flare-ups: Need CT Scan of Chest for Diagnosis
Background: Bronchiectasis (pronounced bron-kee-eck-tuh-sis) is a lung condition in which the breathing tubes (airways) are damaged and widened along with inflammation and chronic bacterial infection.
Bronchiectasis may occur as a result of pneumonia. This can happen in otherwise healthy individuals as well as those with COPD. Those who have bronchiectais typically have a chronic cough that usually produces yellow or green mucus and are prone to recurrent chest infections.
Study: Dr. Minov and colleagues from Macedonia compared flare-ups (exacerbations) of COPD over 12 months. The study results were published in the journal Medical Sciences 2017, volume 5 (doi:10.3390/medsci5020007)
Results: Of the 54 subjects, 27 had bronchiectasis on CT scan of the chest, and 27 did not. Those with bronchiectasis had more frequent flare-ups that generally lasted longer (6.9 days compared with 5.7 days).
Conclusions: The authors concluded that bronchiectasis can cause frequent flare-ups of COPD. These episodes may last longer than in those who do not have bronchiectasis.
My Comments: With frequent flare-ups of COPD, consider
bronchiectasis. Recurrent chest infections are common in those with bronchiectasis because bacteria live in damaged area of the lungs. Symptoms are a persistent cough that raises yellow-green mucus. Your health care provider should order a CT scan of the chest to make a diagnosis. Next, he/she should request a sample of mucus to send to the laboratory to identify a specific bacteria. This information helps to select the best antibiotic.
Long-term antibiotic therapy is typically required to reduce the number of bacteria in the damaged breathing breathing tubes and lung tissue. All bacteria can never be totally eliminated from the lung.
In an April 2017 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (volume 195, pages P15-P16), Patient Education materials address, “What is Bronchiectasis?”