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Bronchiectasis (Acquired, Congenital)

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What is the definition of bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis (pronounced as brong-ke-EK-tah-sis and derived from the Greek bronkhia meaning branches of the lung's main bronchi plus the Greek word ektasis meaning dilation) is the abnormal widening of the bronchi or their branches that usually causes an increased risk for infection.

What is bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis is a condition in which the bronchial tubes in the lung become damaged from inflammation or other causes and the smooth muscles of the bronchial tubes are destroyed. In addition, elasticity of the bronchi is often lost. Bronchiectasis may be acquired or have a genetic origin. Many clinicians consider bronchiectasis to be a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); it includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Who is at risk for bronchiectasis?

  • People at risk for bronchiectasis include:
  • Individuals with alpha-1 antiproteinase (alpha-1 antitrypsin) deficiency or an embryological defect termed immotile cilia syndrome.
  • People with cystic fibrosis
  • Children that develop lung infections with lung tissue destruction are risk for bronchiectasis to develop later in life.
  • People that have recurrent lung infections, aspirate foreign bodies, have had a history of tuberculosis or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • People that abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Individuals that are exposed to toxic gases or any substances that damage lung tissue.

Picture of the lungs
Picture of the lungs

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/30/2016


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