Bronchiectasis is a lung disease that usually results from an infection or other condition that injures the walls of the airways in the lungs. This injury is the beginning of a cycle in which the airways slowly lose their ability to excrete mucus. The mucus accumulates and creates an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria. This leads to lung infections, which can cause more damage to the airways. Over time, the airways become stretched and scarred. This condition affects how much oxygen reaches the organs. If the lungs cannot move enough oxygen into the body, bronchiectasis can lead to serious illness, including heart failure.
Bronchiectasis usually begins in childhood, but symptoms may not appear until months or even years after a person has started having repeated lung infections.
There are two types of bronchiectasis:
Congenital bronchiectasis usually affects infants and children. It results from a problem in the development of the lungs in the fetus. Acquired bronchiectasis occurs in adults and older children. Bronchiectasis cannot be cured, only managed.