bronchiectasis: Hi does anyone have... - British Lung Foun...

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Slr1982 profile image

Hi does anyone have experience of bronchiectasis in a child? My son is 4 years old and since he was about 2 and a half he has been suffering with chest infections and has been on antibiotics many times throughout the year. When he's unwell he coughs so much it makes him gag and will bring up mucus when he's sick from coughing so much. He's doesn't get breathless or wheezy tho. He treated with asthma medication but this doesn't seem to improve things. Just wondered if his symptoms are typical of bronchiectasis or if this condition has much worse symptoms. Thank you for reading.

14 Replies

Has your son been X-rayed as bronchiectsis should show. I have had it since about the age of two. Spent years being pummelled on the back by my parents to help bring up the mucus. Am now in my seventies and still coughing.

Slr1982 profile image
Slr1982 in reply to Tomcat98

Thanks for your reply, he's had a xray once to confirm a chest infection and they never mentioned bronchiectasis.

nanniespy profile image
nanniespy in reply to Slr1982

My hospital consultant told me that a CT scan is the only way to give a definite diagnosis of Bronchiectasis. I know it is possible to be born with this condition. I have sat many times at a hospital bed, watching my grandson struggle to breath. My heart goes out to you and your child. I would return to your GP and ask for a referral to a consultant, it is my feeling that you have to go to see your GP and tell them what you want to do. Hope things improve soon.

Slr1982 profile image
Slr1982 in reply to nanniespy

Thanks for your reply, I hope your grandson is ok. My son never really struggles to breath, it's just reoccurring chest infections, bringing up mucus for weeks when he's unwell and he has had a high heart rate in the past. I'm just not sure if he's just prone to chest infections or if it's something more. Thank you for sharing your experience, best wishes to your grandson 😊

Hi there Sir1982,

I was dignosed by bronchogram when I was 3. I am now 66 and have led a very full life. Today a ct scan is the only way to diagnose bronchiectasis. Your son needs a paediatric chest consultant to do this. If it is bronch you will then need to embark on a lifelong programme of self physiotherapy which your son can easily learn. This is essential to empty the lungs of fluid to prevent it becoming infected and causing frequent exacerbations. You and your son will also need to learn the signs that an exacerbation is starting up so that antibiotics can be started. The good news is that lots of playing, fresh air and a busy life ( in other words, just like other children) is good for the management of bronch.

Unfortunately most GPs have very little knowledge of bronchiectasis and there is very much a misconception that it is a condition only of the elderly. As many on here will tell you, it most definitely is not. So insist on that referral. To date, your GP has proved inefectual in their treatment of your son and needs the support and advice of a specialised consultant.

Try not to worry too much. The worst part is getting through the fog and the system to a diagnosis. There is a very good life with bronchiectasis and we will be happy to give you help based on our experience.

Has he been checked out by a specialist in paediatric respiratory medicine? If not, maybe need to exclude things like Cystic Fibrosis (with a sweat test). Even now this is tested for at birth these days some cases still get missed. X

Has your son had whooping cough and/or German measles as a baby. This is usually what causes Bronchiectasis. Also only a CT scan can confirm the condition. Xrays do not penetrate deep enough into the lung. I had several chest xrays before I insisted on a scan.

A very warm welcome to you.

Quite a few of us on here have experience of non bronchiectasis from childhood/babyhood. The symptoms your dear little son has are present in bronchiectasis but that is not to say your son does have broncheictasis. As has been said only a ct scan can diagnose bronch. Bronch can indeed be caused by infections eg whooping cough, measles but there are also genetic causes eg cystic fibrosis, PCD.

I agree with others you need to ask your GP to refer you to a paediatric respiratory consultant to assess the cause of your son's frequent infections, if only to have a baseline assessment.

Good luck with your little ones assessment. Let us know how you get on.


Slr1982 profile image
Slr1982 in reply to cofdrop-UK

Thanks for your reply, would the symptoms of bronchiectasis be there all the time? My son has periods when he's bad which normally ends in a chest infection and then he has times when he's ok. Thanks for sharing your experience x

in reply to Slr1982

everybody with bronch is different. Some are pretty well until they have an exacerbation ( infection) and some have a certain level of some bacteria in their lungs which they try to keep as low as possible with different antibiotic treatment and rigorous emptyingof the lungs every day.

The only way that you can get answers to your questions is to take your son to paediatric respiratory specialist. Preferably an expert in bronchiectasis.

cofdrop-UK profile image
cofdrop-UK in reply to Slr1982

As Stillstanding has mentioned above there is a broad spectrum with regard to bronch. Many of us produce mucus most of the time whether we have an infection or not, but not all.

I understand totally that you are extremely concerned about your little son but please don't get ahead of yourself with regard to bronchiectasis. With respect, I feel your worries and fears can only be allayed by getting that referral to a paediatric respiratory consultant. Stick to your guns with the GP.

Good luck again and please let us know how you get on.

Thanks for your replies everyone, would the symptoms of bronchiectasis be there all the time? My son has periods when he's bad which normally ends in a chest infection and then he has times when he's ok. Thanks for sharing your experiences x

mrsmummy profile image
mrsmummy in reply to Slr1982

People here will gladly share from their experience but they cannot diagnose your son nor rule out a particular diagnosis. Only a CT scan can do that and I hope you are successful in asking your GP for this to be done.

The above replies are from well-experienced sufferers. Can't add any more to that - they have been brilliant for me in the past. As a matter of interest I have heard that children can develop bronchiectasis as a result of putting a pea up their nose! Also, I have a relative who had one lung removed at the age of 4 because they didn't know how to deal with it in those days . This was in the Welsh valleys so coal dust may have been a contributory factor. Good luck with your little one. As you can see from above, there are plenty of sufferers who have led long lives with it. Mucus clearing and exercise are essential.

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