What are the causes of bronchiectasis in children?
Bronchiectasis is caused due to damage to your childâ€™s lungs. There are many cause of bronchiectasis although in 40% of the cases the cause remains unknown.
- Severe lower respiratory tract infections like recurrent or persistent pneumonia, tuberculosis or whooping cough.
- Immune deficiency which may cause your child to be prone or susceptible to infections
- Congenital malformations of the lung
- Foreign body aspiration like a nut or any food particle which your child may have accidently aspirated into the airways.
- Genetic or inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis or primary ciliary dyskinesia wher thich secretions accumulate and lead to secondary infections.
- Aspiration of food material into the airways as in gastro â€“ esophageal reflux
What are the signs and symptoms of bronchiectasis in children?
Patients with NMD have muscular weakness, loss of muscle bulk, twitching of muscles, cramps, tingling. Those with neuromuscular junction anomalies can have droopy eyelids, double vision and weakness worsening with progressive activity. Other symptoms are:
- The most common symptom is a persistent cough usually with thick expectoration, which may be green or yellow
- Sometimes, children may have blood in the expectoration also called hemoptysis
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Breathing difficulty
- Poorly controlled asthma
Can we prevent bronchiectasis?
If your child has recurrent respiratory symptoms, you should consult your pediatric pulmonologist so that appropriate investigations can be done and this condition can be prevented.
How is it diagnosed?
After a detailed history taking and clinical examination, if your doctor suspects this condition following investigations may be required:
- High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scan
- Flexible bronchoscopy to visualize the airways and take the sample from the lower respiratory passage for microbiological investigations
- Blood tests to check the immune system
- Sweat chloride test to rule out a genetic disease called cystic fibrosis
- Swallow study or gastro oesophageal reflux study to rule out aspiration of food into the lungs.
- Examination of the inner lining of the nose to rule out primary ciliary dyskinesia.
- Lung function tests along with diffusion studies and lung volume studies
- Antibiotics in case of infection
- Inhaled bronchodilator
- Hypertonic saline nebulization like 3% or 7%
- Nebulized antibiotics
- Nutrition and a healthy diet
- Physiotherapy and airway clearance techniques