6 Known Causes of Bronchiectasis

Bronchiectasis is the clinical term for the irreversible, progressive dilation, expansion, inflammation and scarring of the bronchi (tubes conducting air to the lungs), which eventually leads to airway obstruction, impaired mucociliary clearance and harbors microbes, causing further damage.

This rare condition often occurs secondary to another medical condition (e.g.,: cystic fibrosis, sinopulmonary disorders, respiratory tract infections, allergens, etc.) resulting in distortion and damage to one or more of the conducting airways. It’s important to acknowledge the two separately to correctly diagnose and treat both.

According to the British Lung Foundation, in 25 to 50 percent of cases, it’s not possible to know the cause of the bronchiectasis (these cases are called idiopathic bronchiectasis).

However, there are six known causes of the disease:


1.  Whooping cough, severe lung infection (mostly during childhood) or measles.

Characteristics of bronchiectasis patients differ depending on the underlying cause. Find out more. 


2. Underlying inherited disease, such as primary ciliary dyskinesia or cystic fibrosis.

Read our ten tips to help you get through cold and flu season.


3. Low levels of antibodies, lack of immunity to infections.

Study reveals the risk factors identified for bronchiectasis in COPD patients. Read more here.


4. Serious allergic response to fungus (moulds). It can usually be linked with asthma.

Discover eight interesting facts about the lungs.


5. Blockage of the airways.

A majority of patients with bronchiectasis may be at a heightened risk for comorbidities resulting from a sedentary lifestyle.


6. Gastric reflux, where some of the stomach acid travels up the food tube from the stomach and goes into the airways.

Discover eight interesting facts about the lungs.

Bronchiectasis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. Katharine Hanna says:

    I see only one cause shown. Where/how can I access the rest of the article to see what the other 5 causes are? Thank you in advance for your reply.

  2. Mrs Eileen Jones says:

    I know not a lot of Dr’s and the medical profession talk or speak about something that happened in the 40s and early 50s Dr’s have always dismissed any conversation about it it’s a disease called PINKS DISEASE when I researched this I had it when I was 1 year old it was caused by MERCURY poisoning Mercury Was in teething powders and not 100% sure in the national dried milk my bronchiectasis could of come from that or pneumonia TB measles but the support site for PINKS information seems more relevant to all my health problems maybe each bronchiectasis patient over 50 or 60 should be asked about this one

    • Rhys Constable says:

      I am 67 years old and had pinks disease as a child. I have been told it was caused by mercury poisoning from the teathing lotion that was used on me as a baby. I had bilateral lobectomies at around 8 years of age. I was forced to retire at 62 as I could no longer work for fear of infections etc.
      Rhys Constable Australia

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