For patients

What is bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis is a long term condition affecting the airway tubes (bronchi and bronchioles).  The airway tubes become narrower due to inflammation and in certain small areas the breathing tubes develop ‘pockets’ probably due to both scarring and weakness around the airway.  The existence of these ‘pockets’ in the airways mean that mucus gets trapped.  The trapped mucus does not get removed as quickly as usual and this allows bugs that end up in the lung to stay there and cause problems.  Once the bugs grow to a certain level a chest infection or flare up occurs. This scarring and inflammation makes sufferers prone to infection.  Due to the scarring, bronchiectasis cannot be cured but is treatable.



Symptoms vary between individuals, with some sufferers having only one or two and others all of the symptoms listed below;

  • Chronic cough and sputum (phlegm) production
  • Frequent chest infections
  • Breathlessness
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Cough incontinence (bladder leakage)
  • Coughing blood
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Pains in the chest



Additional sources of information and support:

The Newcastle Hospitals Bronchiectasis Service

The British Lung Foundation

Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland


Information developed by a bronchiectasis patient