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Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is a chronic disease of the airways that results from permanent bronchial distortion Distortion Defense Mechanisms. This results from a continuous cycle Cycle The type of signal that ends the inspiratory phase delivered by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation of inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body's defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation, bronchial damage and dilation, impaired clearance of secretions, and recurrent infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease. Most cases are idiopathic Idiopathic Dermatomyositis, though infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease, bronchial obstruction, congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis disorders, and systemic conditions can contribute. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with slowly progressive symptoms of cough and sputum production. The diagnosis is made from characteristic radiographic findings, such as bronchial wall thickening and luminal dilatation. Management focuses on improving clearance of mucus, relieving airway obstruction Airway obstruction Airway obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of the airways that impedes airflow. An airway obstruction can be classified as upper, central, or lower depending on location. Lower airway obstruction (LAO) is usually a manifestation of chronic disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Airway Obstruction, treating infection, and managing the underlying etiology. Management can include chest physiotherapy Physiotherapy Spinal Stenosis, bronchodilators Bronchodilators Asthma Drugs, and antibiotics.

Last updated: Aug 18, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Etiology

Definition

Bronchiectasis is a chronic disease in which there is permanent damage to the airways, causing abnormal bronchial dilation and mucosal inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation.

Epidemiology

  • Prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency is estimated to be approximately 350,000–500,000 cases in the United States.
  • Age:
    • Occurs at any age
    • Increased incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency with older age
  • More common in women

Etiology

  • Idiopathic Idiopathic Dermatomyositis (most common)
  • Primary infection Primary infection Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2:
    • Bacterial:
      • Klebsiella Klebsiella Klebsiella are encapsulated gram-negative, lactose-fermenting bacilli. They form pink colonies on MacConkey agar due to lactose fermentation. The main virulence factor is a polysaccharide capsule. Klebsiella pneumoniae is the most important pathogenic species. Klebsiella species
      • Staphylococcus Staphylococcus Staphylococcus is a medically important genera of Gram-positive, aerobic cocci. These bacteria form clusters resembling grapes on culture plates. Staphylococci are ubiquitous for humans, and many strains compose the normal skin flora. Staphylococcus aureus
      • Pseudomonas Pseudomonas Pseudomonas is a non-lactose-fermenting, gram-negative bacillus that produces pyocyanin, which gives it a characteristic blue-green color. Pseudomonas is found ubiquitously in the environment, as well as in moist reservoirs, such as hospital sinks and respiratory equipment. Pseudomonas aeruginosa
      • Mycobacterium Mycobacterium Mycobacterium is a genus of the family Mycobacteriaceae in the phylum Actinobacteria. Mycobacteria comprise more than 150 species of facultative intracellular bacilli that are mostly obligate aerobes. Mycobacteria are responsible for multiple human infections including serious diseases, such as tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), leprosy (M. leprae), and M. avium complex infections. Mycobacterium tuberculosis Tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex bacteria. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but can also damage other parts of the body. Approximately 30% of people around the world are infected with this pathogen, with the majority harboring a latent infection. Tuberculosis spreads through the air when a person with active pulmonary infection coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis
      • Mycobacterium Mycobacterium Mycobacterium is a genus of the family Mycobacteriaceae in the phylum Actinobacteria. Mycobacteria comprise more than 150 species of facultative intracellular bacilli that are mostly obligate aerobes. Mycobacteria are responsible for multiple human infections including serious diseases, such as tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), leprosy (M. leprae), and M. avium complex infections. Mycobacterium avium complex
      • Mycoplasma pneumoniae Mycoplasma pneumoniae Short filamentous organism of the genus mycoplasma, which binds firmly to the cells of the respiratory epithelium. It is one of the etiologic agents of non-viral primary atypical pneumonia in man. Mycoplasma
    • Viral:
      • Measles Measles Measles (also known as rubeola) is caused by a single-stranded, linear, negative-sense RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae. It is highly contagious and spreads by respiratory droplets or direct-contact transmission from an infected person. Typically a disease of childhood, measles classically starts with cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis, followed by a maculopapular rash. Measles Virus virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology
      • Pertussis Pertussis Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a potentially life-threatening highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract caused by Bordetella pertussis. The disease has 3 clinical stages, the second and third of which are characterized by an intense paroxysmal cough, an inspiratory whoop, and post-tussive vomiting. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology
      • Influenza Influenza Influenza viruses are members of the Orthomyxoviridae family and the causative organisms of influenza, a highly contagious febrile respiratory disease. There are 3 primary influenza viruses (A, B, and C) and various subtypes, which are classified based on their virulent surface antigens, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). Influenza typically presents with a fever, myalgia, headache, and symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Influenza Viruses/Influenza virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology
      • Herpes simplex Herpes Simplex A group of acute infections caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 that is characterized by the development of one or more small fluid-filled vesicles with a raised erythematous base on the skin or mucous membrane. It occurs as a primary infection or recurs due to a reactivation of a latent infection. Congenital TORCH Infections virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology
      • Adenovirus Adenovirus Adenovirus (member of the family Adenoviridae) is a nonenveloped, double-stranded DNA virus. Adenovirus is transmitted in a variety of ways, and it can have various presentations based on the site of entry. Presentation can include febrile pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, acute respiratory disease, atypical pneumonia, and gastroenteritis. Adenovirus
      • Respiratory syncytial virus Respiratory Syncytial Virus Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an enveloped, single-stranded, linear, negative-sense RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae and the genus Orthopneumovirus. Two subtypes (A and B) are present in outbreaks, but type A causes more severe disease. Respiratory syncytial virus causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. Respiratory Syncytial Virus
    • Fungal:
      • Aspergillus Aspergillus A genus of mitosporic fungi containing about 100 species and eleven different teleomorphs in the family trichocomaceae. Echinocandins
      • Histoplasma Histoplasma Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, a dimorphic fungus. The fungus exists as a mold at low temperatures and as yeast at high temperatures. H. capsulatum is the most common endemic fungal infection in the US and is most prevalent in the midwestern and central states along the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. Histoplasma/Histoplasmosis capsulatum
  • Bronchial obstruction:
    • Endobronchial tumors
    • Encroachment from hilar lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy Lymphadenopathy is lymph node enlargement (> 1 cm) and is benign and self-limited in most patients. Etiologies include malignancy, infection, and autoimmune disorders, as well as iatrogenic causes such as the use of certain medications. Generalized lymphadenopathy often indicates underlying systemic disease. Lymphadenopathy (right middle lobe syndrome)
    • Foreign body aspiration Foreign body aspiration Foreign body aspiration can lead to choking and death by obstructing airflow at the larynx or trachea. Foreign bodies may also become lodged deeper in the bronchi; this may not affect breathing but can cause infection or erosion of bronchial walls. Foreign Body Aspiration
    • Mucous plug
  • Pneumonitis Pneumonitis Human Herpesvirus 6 and 7:
    • Aspiration
    • Inhalation injury
  • Congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis disorders:
    • Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis
    • Young syndrome
    • Primary ciliary dyskinesia Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), also known as immotile-cilia syndrome, is an autosomal recessive disorder leading to an impairment that affects mucociliary clearance. Primary ciliary dyskinesia is caused by defective ciliary function in the airways and is characterized by the loss of oscillation (immotility), abnormal oscillation (dyskinesia), or absence of cilia (aplasia). Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia
    • Alpha-1 antitrypsin Alpha-1 antitrypsin Plasma glycoprotein member of the serpin superfamily which inhibits trypsin; neutrophil elastase; and other proteolytic enzymes. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) Deficiency (AAT) deficiency
  • Anatomic defects:
    • Bronchopulmonary sequestration
    • Congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology deficiency
    • Tracheobronchomegaly
  • Lung disease:
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction. The condition usually presents in middle-aged or elderly persons with a history of cigarette smoking. Signs and symptoms include prolonged expiration, wheezing, diminished breath sounds, progressive dyspnea, and chronic cough. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
    • Asthma Asthma Asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory condition characterized by bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airflow obstruction. The disease is believed to result from the complex interaction of host and environmental factors that increase disease predisposition, with inflammation causing symptoms and structural changes. Patients typically present with wheezing, cough, and dyspnea. Asthma
  • Hypersensitivity:
    • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis Aspergillosis Aspergillosis is an opportunistic fungal infection caused by Aspergillus species, which are common spore-forming molds found in our environment. As Aspergillus species are opportunistic, they cause disease primarily in patients who are immunocompromised. The organs that are most commonly involved are the lungs and sinuses. Aspergillus/Aspergillosis ( ABPA ABPA Hypersensitivity reaction (allergic reaction) to fungus aspergillus in an individual with long-standing bronchial asthma. It is characterized by pulmonary infiltrates, eosinophilia, elevated serum immunoglobulin e, and skin reactivity to aspergillus antigen. Aspergillus/Aspergillosis)
    • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), previously called extrinsic allergic alveolitis, is an immunologically induced inflammatory disease affecting the alveoli, bronchioles, and lung parenchyma. It is caused by repeated inhalation of an inciting agent in a susceptible host that triggers first a type III (complement-mediated) hypersensitivity reaction in the acute phase and then a type IV (delayed) reaction in the subacute and chronic phases. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
  • Immunodeficiency Immunodeficiency Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome states:
    • Hypogammaglobulinemia Hypogammaglobulinemia Selective IgA Deficiency
    • Complement deficiencies
    • HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs/ AIDS AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS
    • Immunosuppressive therapy
  • Autoimmune diseases Autoimmune diseases Disorders that are characterized by the production of antibodies that react with host tissues or immune effector cells that are autoreactive to endogenous peptides. Selective IgA Deficiency/ connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology disorders: 
    • Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a symmetric, inflammatory polyarthritis and chronic, progressive, autoimmune disorder. Presentation occurs most commonly in middle-aged women with joint swelling, pain, and morning stiffness (often in the hands). Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Sjögren syndrome Sjögren Syndrome Rheumatoid Arthritis
    • Systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory condition that causes immune-complex deposition in organs, resulting in systemic manifestations. Women, particularly those of African American descent, are more commonly affected. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Sarcoidosis Sarcoidosis Sarcoidosis is a multisystem inflammatory disease that causes noncaseating granulomas. The exact etiology is unknown. Sarcoidosis usually affects the lungs and thoracic lymph nodes, but it can also affect almost every system in the body, including the skin, heart, and eyes, most commonly. Sarcoidosis

Pathophysiology

  • The development of bronchiectasis typically results from:
    • An infection
    • Impaired mucous drainage
    • Airway obstruction Airway obstruction Airway obstruction is a partial or complete blockage of the airways that impedes airflow. An airway obstruction can be classified as upper, central, or lower depending on location. Lower airway obstruction (LAO) is usually a manifestation of chronic disease, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Airway Obstruction
    • Impaired host defenses
  • An inflammatory response occurs → tissue damage to the bronchial walls, including:
  • Bronchial walls dilate → impairs secretion Secretion Coagulation Studies clearance
  • Organisms are able to colonize and cause infection → more bronchial damage and purulent sputum 
  • Becomes a continuous cycle Cycle The type of signal that ends the inspiratory phase delivered by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation of:
    • Bronchial damage
    • Bronchial dilation 
    • Impaired clearance of secretions 
    • Recurrent infection

Clinical Presentation

The signs and symptoms of bronchiectasis will slowly progress over years and are accompanied by periods of acute exacerbation.

Chronic symptoms

  • Chronic cough
  • Sputum production:
    • Mucopurulent
    • Thick
  • Dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea
  • Pleuritic chest pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Wheezing Wheezing Wheezing is an abnormal breath sound characterized by a whistling noise that can be relatively high-pitched and shrill (more common) or coarse. Wheezing is produced by the movement of air through narrowed or compressed small (intrathoracic) airways. Wheezing
  • Hemoptysis Hemoptysis Hemoptysis is defined as the expectoration of blood originating in the lower respiratory tract. Hemoptysis is a consequence of another disease process and can be classified as either life threatening or non-life threatening. Hemoptysis can result in significant morbidity and mortality due to both drowning (reduced gas exchange as the lungs fill with blood) and hemorrhagic shock. Hemoptysis
  • Rhinosinusitis

Advanced disease

Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship may develop: 

  • Pulmonary hypertension Pulmonary Hypertension Pulmonary hypertension (PH) or pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by elevated pulmonary arterial pressure, which can lead to chronic progressive right heart failure. Pulmonary hypertension is grouped into 5 categories based on etiology, which include primary PAH, and PH due to cardiac disease, lung or hypoxic disease, chronic thromboembolic disease, and multifactorial or unclear etiologies. Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Right heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR)
  • Wasting and weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery

Acute exacerbation symptoms

Exacerbations of bronchiectasis are often heralded by the following:

  • Increased sputum production over baseline: 
    • Increased viscosity
    • Purulence
    • Foul odor 
  • Increased dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea and wheezing Wheezing Wheezing is an abnormal breath sound characterized by a whistling noise that can be relatively high-pitched and shrill (more common) or coarse. Wheezing is produced by the movement of air through narrowed or compressed small (intrathoracic) airways. Wheezing
  • Low-grade fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever
  • Fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia and malaise Malaise Tick-borne Encephalitis Virus
  • Pleuritic chest pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways

Physical exam

Nose Nose The nose is the human body’s primary organ of smell and functions as part of the upper respiratory system. The nose may be best known for inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, but it also contributes to other important functions, such as tasting. The anatomy of the nose can be divided into the external nose and the nasal cavity. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy and throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy exam:

  • Halitosis Halitosis An offensive, foul breath odor resulting from a variety of causes such as poor oral hygiene, dental or oral infections, or the ingestion of certain foods. Oral Cancer
  • Nasal polyps

Pulmonary exam:

  • Crackles
  • Rhonchi Rhonchi Asthma
  • Wheezing Wheezing Wheezing is an abnormal breath sound characterized by a whistling noise that can be relatively high-pitched and shrill (more common) or coarse. Wheezing is produced by the movement of air through narrowed or compressed small (intrathoracic) airways. Wheezing

Evidence of chronic hypoxia Hypoxia Sub-optimal oxygen levels in the ambient air of living organisms. Ischemic Cell Damage:

Evidence of right heart failure Heart Failure A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (ventricular dysfunction), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as myocardial infarction. Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR):

  • Peripheral edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema
  • Jugular venous distention
  • Hepatomegaly

Diagnosis

Imaging

Bronchiectasis is diagnosed with the use of radiography.

Chest X-ray Chest X-ray X-ray visualization of the chest and organs of the thoracic cavity. It is not restricted to visualization of the lungs. Pulmonary Function Tests

  • Usually the initial test performed
  • Only 50% of cases will have abnormal findings.
  • Diagnostic findings:
  • Nondiagnostic findings:
    • Linear atelectasis Atelectasis Atelectasis is the partial or complete collapse of a part of the lung. Atelectasis is almost always a secondary phenomenon from conditions causing bronchial obstruction, external compression, surfactant deficiency, or scarring. Atelectasis
    • Irregular peripheral opacities from mucous plugs

High-resolution CT High-resolution CT Imaging of the Lungs and Pleura ( HRCT HRCT Pulmonary Function Tests): 

  • More sensitive and specific
  • Findings:
    • Airway Airway ABCDE Assessment dilation: 
      • Parallel “tram lines” in a horizontal orientation Orientation Awareness of oneself in relation to time, place and person. Psychiatric Assessment
      • “Signet-ring” sign: cross-sectional finding of a dilated bronchus that is contiguous with a smaller pulmonary artery Pulmonary artery The short wide vessel arising from the conus arteriosus of the right ventricle and conveying unaerated blood to the lungs. Lungs: Anatomy
      • Nonuniform dilation (varicose)
      • Cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change
      • Lack of bronchial tapering
    • Mucopurulent plugs with postobstructive air trapping (“tree-in-bud” pattern)
  • Distribution:
    • Lower lobes → idiopathic Idiopathic Dermatomyositis (most cases)
    • Upper lobes → cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis
    • Middle and lower lobe → primary ciliary dysfunction Ciliary dysfunction Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia

Pulmonary function testing Pulmonary Function Testing Pulmonary Function Tests

  • ↓ Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)
  • ↓ or normal forced vital capacity Vital capacity The volume of air that is exhaled by a maximal expiration following a maximal inspiration. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing (FVC)
  • ↓ FEV1/FVC ratio

Supporting evaluation

The evaluation for an underlying etiology may include:

  • Eosinophils Eosinophils Granular leukocytes with a nucleus that usually has two lobes connected by a slender thread of chromatin, and cytoplasm containing coarse, round granules that are uniform in size and stainable by eosin. Innate Immunity: Phagocytes and Antigen Presentation ABPA ABPA Hypersensitivity reaction (allergic reaction) to fungus aspergillus in an individual with long-standing bronchial asthma. It is characterized by pulmonary infiltrates, eosinophilia, elevated serum immunoglobulin e, and skin reactivity to aspergillus antigen. Aspergillus/Aspergillosis
  • Immunoglobulin testing:
    • Evaluation for hypogammaglobulinemia Hypogammaglobulinemia Selective IgA Deficiency
    • IgE IgE An immunoglobulin associated with mast cells. Overexpression has been associated with allergic hypersensitivity. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions specific to Aspergillus Aspergillus A genus of mitosporic fungi containing about 100 species and eleven different teleomorphs in the family trichocomaceae. Echinocandins ABPA ABPA Hypersensitivity reaction (allergic reaction) to fungus aspergillus in an individual with long-standing bronchial asthma. It is characterized by pulmonary infiltrates, eosinophilia, elevated serum immunoglobulin e, and skin reactivity to aspergillus antigen. Aspergillus/Aspergillosis
  • Sweat chloride Chloride Inorganic compounds derived from hydrochloric acid that contain the Cl- ion. Electrolytes testing and cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene mutation Gene Mutation Myotonic Dystrophies cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis
  • AAT level → AAT deficiency
  • Autoimmune workup:
    • Rheumatoid factor Rheumatoid factor Antibodies found in adult rheumatoid arthritis patients that are directed against gamma-chain immunoglobulins. Autoimmune Hepatitis
    • Antinuclear antibody
    • Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody
  • Sputum smear and culture for:
    • Bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology
    • Mycobacteria Mycobacteria Mycobacterium is a genus of the family Mycobacteriaceae in the phylum Actinobacteria. Mycobacteria comprise more than 150 species of facultative intracellular bacilli that are mostly obligate aerobes. Mycobacteria are responsible for multiple human infections including serious diseases, such as tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), leprosy (M. leprae), and M. avium complex infections. Mycobacterium
    • Fungi Fungi A kingdom of eukaryotic, heterotrophic organisms that live parasitically as saprobes, including mushrooms; yeasts; smuts, molds, etc. They reproduce either sexually or asexually, and have life cycles that range from simple to complex. Filamentous fungi, commonly known as molds, refer to those that grow as multicellular colonies. Mycology

Management

Goals

Bronchiectasis is a chronic condition. Thus, management focuses on:

  • Improving symptoms 
  • Reducing complications
  • Controlling exacerbations
  • Reducing morbidity Morbidity The proportion of patients with a particular disease during a given year per given unit of population. Measures of Health Status and mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status 
  • Managing underlying conditions

General management

  • Identify and treat the underlying cause.
  • Improve clearance of mucus:
    • Chest physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy
    • Deep breathing with forced expiratory maneuvers
    • Humidification
    • Mucolytics are often used in cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship.
  • Reverse airflow obstruction:
    • Bronchodilators Bronchodilators Asthma Drugs:
      • Beta-agonists
      • Anticholinergics Anticholinergics Anticholinergic drugs block the effect of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine at the muscarinic receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Anticholinergic agents inhibit the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in effects on the smooth muscle in the respiratory tract, vascular system, urinary tract, GI tract, and pupils of the eyes. Anticholinergic Drugs
    • Corticosteroid therapy
  • Infection treatment: antibiotics
    • Empiric choices: 
      • Amoxicillin Amoxicillin A broad-spectrum semisynthetic antibiotic similar to ampicillin except that its resistance to gastric acid permits higher serum levels with oral administration. Penicillins–clavulanate
      • Fluoroquinolones Fluoroquinolones Fluoroquinolones are a group of broad-spectrum, bactericidal antibiotics inhibiting bacterial DNA replication. Fluoroquinolones cover gram-negative, anaerobic, and atypical organisms, as well as some gram-positive and multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms. Fluoroquinolones (provides coverage for Pseudomonas Pseudomonas Pseudomonas is a non-lactose-fermenting, gram-negative bacillus that produces pyocyanin, which gives it a characteristic blue-green color. Pseudomonas is found ubiquitously in the environment, as well as in moist reservoirs, such as hospital sinks and respiratory equipment. Pseudomonas)
    • Tailored to sputum culture and sensitivity
  • Vaccinations:
    • Influenza Influenza Influenza viruses are members of the Orthomyxoviridae family and the causative organisms of influenza, a highly contagious febrile respiratory disease. There are 3 primary influenza viruses (A, B, and C) and various subtypes, which are classified based on their virulent surface antigens, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). Influenza typically presents with a fever, myalgia, headache, and symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Influenza Viruses/Influenza
    • Pneumococcal pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia
  • Smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases cessation counseling

Surgical management

Surgery is not usually indicated, but it may be used in specific circumstances:

  • Bronchial artery embolization Embolization A method of hemostasis utilizing various agents such as gelfoam, silastic, metal, glass, or plastic pellets, autologous clot, fat, and muscle as emboli. It has been used in the treatment of spinal cord and intracranial arteriovenous malformations, renal arteriovenous fistulas, gastrointestinal bleeding, epistaxis, hypersplenism, certain highly vascular tumors, traumatic rupture of blood vessels, and control of operative hemorrhage. Gastrointestinal Bleeding for massive hemoptysis Hemoptysis Hemoptysis is defined as the expectoration of blood originating in the lower respiratory tract. Hemoptysis is a consequence of another disease process and can be classified as either life threatening or non-life threatening. Hemoptysis can result in significant morbidity and mortality due to both drowning (reduced gas exchange as the lungs fill with blood) and hemorrhagic shock. Hemoptysis
  • Lung resection:
    • Removal of the most severely involved segments of the lung
    • May be pursued for advanced disease or massive hemoptysis Hemoptysis Hemoptysis is defined as the expectoration of blood originating in the lower respiratory tract. Hemoptysis is a consequence of another disease process and can be classified as either life threatening or non-life threatening. Hemoptysis can result in significant morbidity and mortality due to both drowning (reduced gas exchange as the lungs fill with blood) and hemorrhagic shock. Hemoptysis
  • Lung transplantation Lung transplantation The transference of either one or both of the lungs from one human or animal to another. Organ Transplantation is considered for severe bronchiectasis (such as in cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis).

Prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas

  • Mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status has improved with the advent of antibiotic therapy. 
  • A poorer prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas is associated with:
    • A cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis
    • Advanced age
    • Poor functional status
    • Hypoxemia Hypoxemia Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome
    • Hypercapnia Hypercapnia A clinical manifestation of abnormal increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in arterial blood. Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Differential Diagnosis

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction. The condition usually presents in middle-aged or elderly persons with a history of cigarette smoking. Signs and symptoms include prolonged expiration, wheezing, diminished breath sounds, progressive dyspnea, and chronic cough. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ( COPD COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction. The condition usually presents in middle-aged or elderly persons with a history of cigarette smoking. Signs and symptoms include prolonged expiration, wheezing, diminished breath sounds, progressive dyspnea, and chronic cough. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)): a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction: Symptoms include progressive dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea and chronic cough. Prolonged expiration Prolonged Expiration Asthma in Children, wheezing Wheezing Wheezing is an abnormal breath sound characterized by a whistling noise that can be relatively high-pitched and shrill (more common) or coarse. Wheezing is produced by the movement of air through narrowed or compressed small (intrathoracic) airways. Wheezing, or diminished breath sounds may be noted on exam. The diagnosis is confirmed with pulmonary function testing Pulmonary Function Testing Pulmonary Function Tests. The imaging findings of bronchiectasis are not generally seen. Management includes smoking Smoking Willful or deliberate act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from burning substances or agents held by hand. Interstitial Lung Diseases cessation, pulmonary rehabilitation, and pharmacotherapy.
  • Asthma Asthma Asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory condition characterized by bronchial hyperresponsiveness and airflow obstruction. The disease is believed to result from the complex interaction of host and environmental factors that increase disease predisposition, with inflammation causing symptoms and structural changes. Patients typically present with wheezing, cough, and dyspnea. Asthma: a chronic inflammatory condition characterized by reversible obstruction to airflow in the lower airways: Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with intermittent or persistent wheezing Wheezing Wheezing is an abnormal breath sound characterized by a whistling noise that can be relatively high-pitched and shrill (more common) or coarse. Wheezing is produced by the movement of air through narrowed or compressed small (intrathoracic) airways. Wheezing, coughing, and dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea. Diagnosis is usually confirmed with pulmonary function testing Pulmonary Function Testing Pulmonary Function Tests showing a reversible obstructive pattern. The imaging findings of bronchiectasis are not generally seen. Management varies based on the severity, and it includes bronchodilators Bronchodilators Asthma Drugs and inhaled corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis for control of inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation.
  • Pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia: infection of the lung parenchyma most often caused by bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology or a virus Virus Viruses are infectious, obligate intracellular parasites composed of a nucleic acid core surrounded by a protein capsid. Viruses can be either naked (non-enveloped) or enveloped. The classification of viruses is complex and based on many factors, including type and structure of the nucleoid and capsid, the presence of an envelope, the replication cycle, and the host range. Virology: Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever, dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea, and a productive cough. Chest X-ray Chest X-ray X-ray visualization of the chest and organs of the thoracic cavity. It is not restricted to visualization of the lungs. Pulmonary Function Tests usually shows lobar consolidation Consolidation Pulmonary Function Tests. Management usually involves empiric antibiotics, which can be tailored if the causative organism is identified. Antivirals are used when a viral cause is suspected.
  • Aspiration pneumonitis Pneumonitis Human Herpesvirus 6 and 7: inhalation of either oropharyngeal or gastric contents into the lower airways. This stimulates an inflammatory response, resulting in cough, dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea, chest discomfort, and fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever. The diagnosis is often clinical and supported with chest X-ray Chest X-ray X-ray visualization of the chest and organs of the thoracic cavity. It is not restricted to visualization of the lungs. Pulmonary Function Tests findings of ground-glass opacities in dependent regions. Management is supportive, and patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship should be monitored for the development of pneumonia Pneumonia Pneumonia or pulmonary inflammation is an acute or chronic inflammation of lung tissue. Causes include infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi. In more rare cases, pneumonia can also be caused through toxic triggers through inhalation of toxic substances, immunological processes, or in the course of radiotherapy. Pneumonia.

References

  1. Barker, A. F. (2021). Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of bronchiectasis in adults. In Hollingsworth, H. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-bronchiectasis-in-adults
  2. Barker, A. F. (2020). Bronchiectasis in adults: Treatment of acute exacerbations and advanced disease. In Hollingsworth, H. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/bronchiectasis-in-adults-treatment-of-acute-exacerbations-and-advanced-disease
  3. Emmons, E. E. (2020). Bronchiectasis. In Mosenifar, Z. (Ed.), Medscape. Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/296961-overview
  4. Coruh, B., Niven, A.S. (2019). Bronchiectasis. MSD Manual Professional Version. Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/pulmonary-disorders/bronchiectasis-and-atelectasis/bronchiectasis
  5. Bird, K., Memon, J. (2020). Bronchiectasis. StatPearls. Retrieved April 6, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430810/

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