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Definition of Bronchiectasis


Updated October 03, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


Bronchiectasis is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in which the large airways of the lungs (bronchi) become damaged and widened. Mucous can collect in these dilated airways, allowing bacteria to grow causing recurrent lung infections.

This condition is often caused by repeated lung infections during childhood. Roughly 50% of cases are due to the hereditary condition cystic fibrosis. It can also occur due to obstruction of the airways by a tumor such as lung cancer, or a foreign body.

Further Reading About Bronchiectasis:

Joshua developed bronchiectasis when his lung tumor obstructed one of the large airways in his lungs.

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