The long term prognosis for people with bronchiectasis varies dependant upon the type and severity of their disease. However, due to recent developments in effective antibiotic therapy and vaccinations, life expectancy of bronchiectasis patients has increased. If bronchiectasis is properly treated most people can continue to lead normal lives without major disability.
Bronchiectasis treatment is aimed at controlling infections and bronchial secretions, relieving airway obstruction and preventing complications. Patients should learn and practice regular, daily postural drainage and effective coughing exercises in order to remove bronchial secretions and clear mucous build up. Chest physiotherapy is another method which provides relief by helping to clear sputum from the bronchi and bronchioles. In addition, inhaled or oral corticosteroids may slow the progression of bronchiectasis.
If an infection does occur, antibiotics, bronchodilators and expectorants are often prescribed to open up a person’s lung passages. Avoiding smoking and environmental pollutants assists to lessen a person’s susceptibility to infection. The chance of some infections occurring are also reduced when a person has taken childhood vaccinations against measles, influenza and other infections, and received yearly influenza and pneumonia vaccines. Prophylactic antibiotics and vaccination will be considered for patients who consistently produce excess sputum. Bronchiectasis is less likely to develop if lung infections are treated immediately.
If a patient fails to respond to therapy another alternative is surgical lung resection although this is only possible if bronchiectasis is limited to a single area of one lung. This option also may be recommended in the case of massive bleeding. Lung transplants are only an option for severe cases.
Your doctor will monitor how successful your treatment is. This means your treatment can be changed quickly to meet your needs.
A number of treatments to help with clearing mucus and to reduce inflammation are being tested for the future.