The goal of treatment for bronchiectasis is to treat any underlying conditions causing lung injury, help remove mucus from the lungs and prevent further complications.

Treatment may include:

  • Bronchodilator Medications — Inhaled as aerosol sprays or taken orally, bronchodilator medications may help to relieve symptoms of bronchiectasis by relaxing and opening the air passages in the lungs.
  • Steroids — Inhaled as an aerosol spray, steroids can help relieve symptoms of bronchiectasis. Over time, however, inhaled steroids can cause side effects, such as weakened bones, high blood pressure, diabetes and cataracts. It is important to discuss these side effects with your doctor before using steroids.
  • Antibiotics — Antibiotics may be used to help fight respiratory infections caused by bronchiectasis.
  • Mucus Thinners and Expectorants — Mucus thinners and expectorants help loosen and clear mucus from lungs.
  • Respiratory Therapy — People with bronchiectasis must clear mucus from their lungs on a daily basis. This may be done with chest physical therapy, which involves vigorously clapping the back and chest to dislodge mucus from the lungs. Airway clearance can also be achieved with mechanical devices that stimulate mucus clearance.
  • Surgery — Lung volume reduction surgery, during which small wedges of damaged lung tissue are removed, may be recommended for some patients with severe cases of bronchiectasis.
  • Lung Transplant — In very severe cases, lung transplantation may be an option for some patients.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.