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Bronchiectasis

the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened

A long term lung condition

What is bronchiectasis?

In bronchiectasis the airways of your lungs widen, making them vulnerable to infection due to a build up of mucus. Bronchiectasis has different severity levels. You may experience a persistent cough or breathlessness as a result. Our respiratory experts can diagnose and treat you.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of bronchiectasis? icon plus

    • persistent cough that brings up phlegm
    • shortness of breath/breathlessness
    • coughing up blood or blood-stained phlegm
    • chest pain and/or joint pain
    • the tissue around your fingertips and finger nails becoming thicker
  • How is bronchoectasis diagnosed? icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you and help to make a diagnosis. They will likely listen to your chest with a stethoscope, to assess if you have a chest infection. Other tests we offer to diagnose bronchiectasis include:

    • Chest X-ray or CT scan for a more in depth look at your lungs
    • Blood and phlegm tests to check for any bacterial infection
    • Lung function test
    • A sample of your sweat may be taken. High levels of salt in your sweat are a symptom of cystic fibrosis, a condition causing mucus to build up in your lungs
    • A bronchoscopy where a flexible tube with a camera is passed into your lungs and a tissue sample is taken.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your treatment options and help to determine the best approach for you. Whilst damage to your lungs from bronchiectasis may be permanent, you can prevent the condition worsening. Treatment options might include:

    • antibiotic medication
    • bronchodilators (inhalers)
    • diet and exercise recommendations
    • stopping smoking if you smoke
    • nebulised medications to help clear your lungs 

    In very few cases surgery may be required. Your lungs are made up of small lobes. If a lobe is affected by bronchiectasis may be removed. This is called a lobectomy.

Our respiratory consultants

We're proud to work with leading respiratory experts specialising in lung conditions including lung cancer. Our consultants are also supported by the lung function laboratory team and respiratory physiotherapists who can help with breathing techniques. 
Consultant in theatres

Our locations

From complex thoracic surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional respiratory and lung care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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