Finally got a diagnosis!


Went to the clinic on Monday - got diagnosed with Bronchiectasis - damage to both lungs. Finally the reason I have been coughing so much has an answer. My Asthma seems to be a symptom rather than the cause but it still gets quite severe when pushed.

Part of me is really relieved. The other feels rather more worried about it than I thought I would be, especially when the doctor told me I have a much higher chance of dying (thanks doc, really needed that!)

I have another chest infection (been to the GP, have high dose antibiotics). I was wondering how often other people with bronchiectasis get infections - how effective is the physio for helping to prevent them (still waiting for my appointment to be taught how to clear)? I realise everyone is different but it would be nice to get an idea.

Also, if you do have bronch (bronchiectasis is such a long word!) do you use a neb to assist with clearing your chest - I find that Salbutamol helps a lot before I have a good cough.


3 Replies

  • Can't help with the specifics, but just wanted to say I'm glad you finally got an answer. I found the waiting for results of my CT scan really hard so I can identify with the feeling of relief that comes with an answer whatever it happens to be. Hoping you get really good care now that you know more conclusively what you are dealing with.

  • Hi James

    It can be a great relief to get an answer - although when I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis I was quite unhappy about it (long term issues) I was none the less relieved to have an answer. Whilst your doc may not have been incorrect, if it reassures you, last time I was in hospital, the woman in the bed next to me was in her early sixties and was diagnosed with bronchiectasis as a young child (8 I think). So thats 52 years post diagnosis ;-)

    With bronchiectasis, the infections occur because of the plugs of mucous sitting stagnant in your airways. The plugs form because of the damage to your airways, often described as 'tree in bud' when visualised. Because the mucous doesn't shift, it becomes infected. The two mainstays of bronchiectasis treatment are hammering infections early (I would start additional oral antibiotics for two weeks if I had more than two crap days lung wise) and daily physio. Physio for bronchiectasis is usually a combination of ACBT (which I talked about previously), the use of vibrationary positive expiratory pressure devices such as an Acapella, Postural Drainage, exercise and things like nebulised saline or hypertonic saline to help move secretions in conjunction with ACBT. I would have to do the ACBT twice daily, and up to four times daily when unwell, in conjunction with nebulised salbutamol and saline, or hypertonic saline, to open up the airways and mobilise secretions.

    I cannot understate how important physiotherapy is in controlling this. The more infections you get, the more damage is caused to the lungs > more infection > more damage. Hence its really important to try and break the cycle by mobilising secretions on a daily basis to prevent infection. A good respiratory physio is worth their weight in gold :)

    Good antibiotic treatment is also vital. If oral antibiotics didnt sort things out, I would be given 10-14 days of IV antibiotics instead. Ensuring the correct antibiotic via sputum culture is useful too.. Once diagnosed I was prescribed azithromycin 3 x a week, but later was put on permanant oral antibiotics in addition to this (amoxycillin).

    I hope you get a good physio to support you.

  • Thanks all for your replies. It helps a lot.

    I hope I get a good physio as well. Some of the doctors I have seen so far (including the consultant at the clinic) have been pretty poor.

    I just wish things would hurry up! I've been put on erythromycin which appears to lessen the frequency of infections, although the cold I have has got me back onto strong antibiotics for 10 days.

    I am looking forward to the physio - the reduction of mucus has a direct effect on the state of my asthma.

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