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Bronchiectasis In Children


Bronchiectasis is a lung condition that causes your child's bronchi to permanently widen. Bronchi are larger airways which help carry air in and out of your child's lungs. Your child's lungs make mucus to trap and remove germs and irritants that he breathes. In bronchiectasis, his lungs cannot clear mucus as it would normally. This may lead to infections, inflammation, and scarring in your child's lungs and may make it difficult for him to breathe.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


  • Antibiotics: This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators may be given to help open the air passages in your child's lungs to help him breathe easier.
  • Expectorants: These medicines help thin your child's mucus. When mucus is thin, it may be easier for him to cough it up and spit it out. This may help your child breathe easier and may help him get better faster.
  • Steroid medicine: Inhaled steroids help decrease inflammation in your child's lungs and open his airways so he can breathe easier.


  • Sputum sample: Sputum (mucus) is collected in a cup when your child coughs. The sample is sent to a lab to find out if your child has an infection.
  • Chest x-ray: This is used to look at your child's lungs and airways to check for the cause of bronchiectasis.
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your child's chest and airways. Your child may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if he has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • Bronchoscopy: This test is done to look inside your child's airways and lungs. Healthcare providers will insert a bronchoscope (a tube with a light and magnifying glass on the end) into your child's mouth and down into his lungs. Your child may get medicine for pain or to help him relax during the test. Healthcare providers may also collect samples of sputum, fluid, or cells from your child's lungs for testing. They may help find the cause of bronchiectasis or see if your child has an infection.
  • Pulmonary function tests: Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) help healthcare providers learn how well your child's body uses oxygen. Your child will breathe into a mouthpiece connected to a machine. The machine measures how much air he breathes in and out over a certain amount of time. PFTs help your healthcare providers decide the best treatment for your child.


  • Airway clearance techniques (ACTs): Your child's healthcare provider may show your child ACTs to cough up mucus and help him breathe easier. ACTs may help decrease your child's symptoms.
    • Airway oscillation: This is a device that works by vibrating your child's airways as he breathes out through it. Your child will need to breathe in until he fills his lungs, and then hold his breath for 2 to 3 seconds. He then puts the device tightly to his mouth and breathes out normally through it.
    • Chest wall oscillation: This therapy uses a vest that your child wears. It is attached to a machine that causes the vest to vibrate your child's chest.
    • Percussion: This is where you forcefully pat on your child's back with a cupped hand or soft plastic cup. It helps loosen mucus that is stuck in your child's airways. Ask your child's healthcare provider to show you how to do percussion on your child.
    • Positive expiratory pressure therapy (PEP): This therapy uses a device that keeps some air in your child's airways when he breathes out. This helps prevent mucus from being trapped in his small airways so he can more easily cough it up.
    • Postural drainage: This therapy is designed to help drain mucus from different areas of your child's lung. Your child's healthcare provider will show you how to position your child for this therapy.
  • Oxygen: This may be given through a mask or nasal cannula to help your child breathe easier. Oxygen can also decrease the strain on your child's heart and can help prevent further problems.
  • Surgery: The part of your child's lung causing his symptoms may need to be removed. Ask for more information about surgery.


Your child may bleed more than expected or get an infection after lung surgery. If bronchiectasis is not treated, your child's airways may fill with mucus. It may become difficult for your child to breathe. Pressure inside the blood vessels around the lungs may increase and lead to heart failure and bleeding. These conditions may be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Bronchiectasis In Children (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes