Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung disease which causes inflammation of the airways and leaves the patient unable to clear mucus from the lungs which increases the risk of infection.
Patients usually present symptoms such as a persistent cough and breathlessness, but in order to diagnose bronchiectasis a number of tests need to be carried out.
These tests include:
Blood tests will help doctors to determine if there are any conditions present which are associated with bronchiectasis and to see if there are any underlying infections.
The results of CT scans or chest x-rays will be used to look at the lungs in more details. The scans will show any problems such as inflammation, scarring, and thickening of the airways.
A sputum (or mucus) sample will be taken and tested to see if there any bacterial infections present or microbes which could be causing problems with the lungs.
Lung Function Test
A lung function test measures how much air a person can breathe in and out, along with the speed and force a person can exhale air from their lungs. The test can also determine how efficiently the lungs are delivering oxygen to the blood stream.
A sweat test is used to eliminate cystic fibrosis. People who have cystic fibrosis will have a very high level of salt in their perspiration. Cystic fibrosis can often be the cause of bronchiectasis.
A bronchoscopy is used for bronchiectasis patients who are not responding to treatment. The test uses a flexible tube with a light attached which takes video images of the person’s airways so further analysis can be done.
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