Bronchiectasis is often caused by recurrent infection or inflammation of the airways. It can be congenital, (when a person is born with a predisposition to the disorder) and sometimes it occurs as part of a birth defect such as cystic fibrosis or primary ciliary dyskinesia. It is a disease which can develop at any age but most often begins in childhood. Other causes of bronchiectasis include:
The majority of the above disorders result in the dilation of the bronchi and bronchioles. The mucous trapped in these airways becomes stagnant and subsequently becomes infected, leading to further dilation and more damage.
When diagnosing for bronchiectasis doctors put a stethoscope against the patient’s chest and listen for wheezing, soft clicking, rattling, bubbling or other unusual sounds arising from the lower lobes of the lungs. Bronchiectasis is commonly misdiagnosed as asthma or pneumonia. A number of methods are used to further evaluate if a patient suffers from bronchiectasis. These include: