In making a diagnosis of bronchiectasis, your doctor will first start by conducting a thorough physical examination, recording your medical history and asking about any symptoms you are experiencing.

The following tests may then be conducted to make a definite diagnosis:

  • Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) — This test involves a series of breathing maneuvers that measure the airflow and volume of air in your lungs. This allows your doctor to objectively assess the function of your lungs.
  • High Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT) — This is a special type of CT scan that provides your doctor with high-resolution images of your lungs. Having a HRCT is no different than having a regular CT scan; they both are performed on an open-air table and take only a few minutes.
  • Chest X-Ray — Chest X-rays can help confirm a diagnosis of bronchiectasis and rule out other lung conditions.
  • Sputum Examination — Analysis of cells in your sputum (mucus and other matter brought up from the lungs, bronchi and trachea) can help determine the cause of some lung problems.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.