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Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD)?

PCD is a disorder that affects the cilia in your body. Cilia are hair-like structures around certain cells that normally move like waves. In the respiratory system, PCD can prevent lung cilia from clearing mucus and irritants out of the lungs, nose, and sinuses. Bacteria sit in the airway and increase, leading to respiratory infections. In a man's reproductive system, PCD can prevent sperm from moving toward an egg to fertilize. In a woman's system, PCD can prevent the fallopian tubes from moving an egg toward the uterus. These problems can cause infertility. PCD is a genetic disorder (passed from both parents to the child).

What are the signs and symptoms of PCD?

How is PCD diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and when they began. He or she will listen to your heart and lungs, and listen to how you breathe. PCD might be diagnosed based on lifelong signs and symptoms. Examples are a constant cough or infections that antibiotics do not clear up. Tell your provider if you know you had respiratory distress as a newborn. Tests may be available to help confirm PCD:

How is PCD treated?

PCD cannot be cured, but the following may help you control signs and symptoms:

What can I do to manage PCD?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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