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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury


Pūkahukahu Hauā

Illustration showing a healthy airway and one with bronchiectasis, which is wider and has mucus in it.Bronchiectasis is a long-term lung condition where the breathing tubes in the lungs get damaged and are larger than usual. This makes it harder for the lungs to clear mucus (sputum or phlegm).

People with bronchiectasis are more likely to get airway infections and the infections are likely to last longer. It also makes people prone to having a moist cough, sometimes with a wheeze, and feeling short of breath.

Often the cause of bronchiectasis is unknown, though it can be linked to lung infections, immune problems or mucus problems such as in cystic fibrosis.

Diagnosing bronchiectasis can include blood tests, sputum testing, breathing tests (spirometry), a chest X-ray, a CT scan of the chest and bronchoscopy.

Treating bronchiectasis includes chest physiotherapy and antibiotics.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2021.

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Page reference: 131321

Review key: HIBRN-131321