Surprising Link Between Asthma and Bronchiecstasis

A study by the Sotiria Chest Diseases Hospital in Athens Greece revealed a surprising new link between asthma and bronchiectasis. Visit to read the full article and study results.

It has long been suspected that asthma caused bronchiecstasis. Treatment between the two and their exact connection, however, has been unclear. Researchers at the Sotiria Chest Diseases Hospital studied a test group of 40 patients to learn more. Of the test group, 28 were women and 12 were men. Patients had been suffering with asthma for an average of about 17 years. All patients shared the same treatment plan – combining a corticosteroid inhalant, and long-acting beta-2 agonist. 40% of the test group were also receiving treatment with leukotrine receptor blockers.

If that sounds like a relatively thorough and effective course of treatment, you’re right. It should be. All of the forty members of the patient group, however, continued to show signs of uninhibited disease. They continued to exhibit coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and tightness of the chest.

Further testing revealed that 27 of the 40 patients in the test group had bronchiectasis in addition to asthma. 67.5% of the studied patients were suffering with a different disease that required different treatment than had been expected.

A Sputum test showed that of the 40 patients, almost a quarter of them were affected by infection of the airways. The common causes were the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Haemophilius influenzae. Every patient that was diagnosed with an infection also had bronchiecstasis.

Researchers concluded that for effective treatment it is crucial to investigate the differences in diagnosis between the two conditions. Though the symptoms are similar, and the two conditions do present some overlap, bronchiecstasis cannot be treated with the same course of action as standalone asthma. Asthma most often involves an inflammation. This inflammation is caused by eosinophil immune cells which are treated with corticosteroids. Bronchiecstasis, by contrast, is primarily a result of neutrophil immune cells. The cells involved in bronchiecstasis do not respond to coticosteroids. Instead, bronchiecstasis is treated with a specific antibiotic.

With improper treatment or diagnosis, the patient’s symptoms will remain. Potentially the patient could continue to worsen with no known explanation. The research team acknowledged that their findings require further study. What is apparent, however, is that more care must be put into diagnosing patients when symptoms could overlap. There may be a subgroup of asthma patients who would be better treated with the antibiotics used to to treat bronchiecstasis.

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