Your doctor may suspect bronchiectasis if you have a daily cough that produces large amounts of sputum (spit).
To find out whether you have bronchiectasis, your doctor may recommend tests to:
A chest computed tomography (to-MOG-ra-fee) scan, or chest CT scan, is the most common test for diagnosing bronchiectasis.
This painless test creates precise pictures of your airways and other structures in your chest. A chest CT scan can show the extent and location of lung damage. This test gives more detailed pictures than a standard chest x ray.
This painless test creates pictures of the structures in your chest, such as your heart and lungs. A chest x ray can show areas of abnormal lung and thickened, irregular airway walls.
Your doctor may recommend other tests, such as:
If your bronchiectasis doesn't respond to treatment, your doctor may recommend bronchoscopy (bron-KOS-ko-pee). Doctors use this procedure to look inside the airways.
During bronchoscopy, a flexible tube with a light on the end is inserted through your nose or mouth into your airways. The tube is called a bronchoscope. It provides a video image of your airways. You'll be given medicine to numb your upper airway and help you relax during the procedure.
Bronchoscopy can show whether you have a blockage in your airways. The procedure also can show the source of any bleeding in your airways.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Bronchiectasis, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
December 9, 2013
Gary H. Gibbons
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