Bronchitis (Acute)

How is acute bronchitis diagnosed?

Because acute bronchitis has many causes is often self-limiting within 10 to 20 days and its main symptom is coughing, most doctors consider the diagnosis after a history and physical without additional tests. If the diagnosis is not clear or the specific cause needs to be identified , such tests as sputum cytology, throat cultures, influenza tests, chest X-rays, blood gas, procalcitonin levels and even bronchoscopy have been used to identify specific viral, bacterial and other sources or causes or rule out more severe illnesses (such as a pneumonia). In many people, the symptoms of acute bronchitis are mild to moderate and symptoms like cough are treated for a few days before a more extensive workup is begun.

Reviewed on 4/30/2014

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