Asthma UK community forum

A touch of the old Bronchies

Hi all

Well after almost 2 years of wheezing, coughing, 2 hospital admissions, what feels like hundreds of Predisilone, almost all inhalers, I have now been told that yes I do have Asthma but in addition, I also have Bronchietatsis which they think has been caused by the Asthma not being controlled.

Never heard of this condition before but I believe the symptoms are very similiar to Asthma. This will also be why the Ventolin hasn't been of much help as it won't help with the Bronchiectasis.

Has anyone else been diagnosed with this condition?



3 Replies

Hi Jane, Im sorry to hear that you've been diagnosed with bronchiectasis. I was diagnosed with this around four years ago, by my local hospital. To cut a long story short, they got the diagnosis wrong, but in that year I learned a lot about it.. Im glad I didnt have it since the local hospital were treating me very inneffectively and not appropriately for the condition...

It is absolutlely vital that lung infection is treated quickly and effectively with appropriate antibiotic therapy, be that oral or intravenous. What you need to avoid is the cycle of infection > more damage to lungs > more infection > more damage to lungs. I was started on a 3xweekly antibiotic called azithromycin, and at the very first hint of infection (ie one bad day, continuing to another bad day lung wise, or signs of increased temperature) I started a two week course of oral antibiotics. If these didnt improve the situation I would end up on IV antibiotics.

Physiotherapy should form a mainstay of treatment - breathing exercises (active cycle of breathing technique) taught by respiratory physio plus the use of mucous clearance devices such as an acappella providing the physio says there are no contraindications. For many people postural drainage is also taught so that it can be given at home by a partner/friend/carer.

I go to Papworth (big heart and lung specialist hospital) and one of the specialisms/bread and butter, is non CF bronchiectasis. They are very geared up to treating it, hence when I was referred there with that diagnosis I learned a lot! I am a regular inpatient there, and many of my fellow ward mates are often in for IV treatment for this. Its something that papworth treat very seriously, utilising both medicine and physio etc, as the cycle of continual infection if the mucous isnt cleared from the airwasy can lead to deterioration of the disease.

There is some useful information here:

take care

Lynda :)


Hi Lynda

Many thanks for your reply and very helpful information. Since January I have had 3 bad chest infections requiring antibiotics. I am also taking Phyllicontin tablets which don't appear to be helping much.

I am due to see the chest physio next week to show me how to clear my chest. Will I need my husband to be shown what to do? Is it difficult?

Thanks again.

Jane x


Jane that sounds a lot like me... I was admitted with pneumonia repeatedly, and in actual fact it wasnt different infections, it was the same bug which wasnt treated for long enough so it didnt clear up.

Are they sending off sputum samples for culture and senstivity to ensure you are taking the right antibiotics? Have they considered IV antibiotics to actually get rid of it properly? I could take ten days of oral antibiotics with little or no effect, but just 24hrs of IV antibiotics would make a huge difference, though Papworth never give less than ten days IV antibiotics in the case of bronchiectatic patients. There approach works, combined with intensive physio support.

Whether your hubby will need to be shown what to do depends on what they are teaching you. I would have hoped that if they were going to teach you postural drainage, that they would have asked your husband to come along. Last time I was in hospital the woman in the bed next to me had bronchiectasis since she was 11yrs old bless her (now in fifties). Her hubby does postural drainage twice a day on her. It may be that the physio is teaching you the active cycle of breathing technique, or teaching you how to use a positive expiratory pressure/mucous clearance device like an acappella. You blow in it, and it creates pressure in your airways to open them up, plus vibrations to shake the mucous off the walls of the airways, making it easier to clear. None of it is difficult, just takes time and is boring ;) but physio is SO important with bronchiecstasis in reducing sputum in the chest thus reducing infection.

Have they done other tests? Although I had a diagnosis of bronchiectasis, Papworth tested me for cystic fibrosis (common cause of bronchiectasis) and other stuff to ensure there were no issues contributing to the bronchiectasis (which it turned out I didnt have..). But my treatment remains the same as their bronchiectasis patients as it works for the issues I have too.

Have they tested your blood levels of the theophylline (phyllicontin)? Its important the level is at a therapeutic dose, and also that the levels are monitored because there is a fine line between a therapeutic dose and a toxic dose. Levels should be tested within a couple of weeks of starting treatment really. Everyones tolerance to drugs is different - I am only on 60mg bd of theophylline because I get toxic at higher doses. I have a weird body LOL.

apologies for rambling.. hope that helps

Lynda x


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