- Understanding COPD Slideshow
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Quiz
- Energy Foods for COPD Slideshow Pictures
- Bronchitis FAQs
- Patient Comments: Chronic Bronchitis - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Bronchitis - Experience
- Patient Comments: Chronic Bronchitis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Acute Bronchitis - Symptoms
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
- Bronchitis vs. chronic bronchitis definition and facts
- What is bronchitis?
- What is acute bronchitis?
- What are the symptoms of acute bronchitis?
- What is chronic bronchitis?
- What are the causes of chronic bronchitis?
- What are the risk factors for chronic bronchitis?
- What are the signs and symptoms of chronic bronchitis?
- When should an person seek medical care for chronic bronchitis?
- How is chronic bronchitis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for chronic bronchitis?
- What drugs treat chronic bronchitis exacerbations?
- What are the complications of chronic bronchitis?
- Can chronic bronchitis be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for chronic bronchitis?
Quick GuideBronchitis Symptoms and Treatments
What are the complications of chronic bronchitis?
The major complications of chronic bronchitis are:
- dyspnea, sometimes severe,
- respiratory failure,
- cor pulmonale (enlargement and weakness of right heart ventricle due to lung disease),
- pneumothorax (collection of air or gas in lung causing lung collapse),
- polycythemia (abnormally high concentration of red blood cells needed to carry oxygen),
- COPD (some NIH investigators consider chronic bronchitis a type of COPD),
- chronic advancement of the disease, and
- high mortality (death) rate (COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States).
Can chronic bronchitis be prevented?
The majority of instances of chronic bronchitis can be prevented by not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke. Flu and pneumococcal vaccines can help prevent repeated infections that may lead to the disease.
Certain industries (for example, chemical, textile, and farm workers) are often associated with air-borne chemicals and dust; avoiding air-borne chemicals and dust with appropriate masks may prevent or reduce the individual's chance of developing chronic bronchitis.
Good control of asthma may prevent chronic bronchitis from developing. The genetic predisposition to chronic bronchitis is not currently preventable.
What is the prognosis for chronic bronchitis?
Although the disease is chronic and progressive, affected individuals that are diagnosed early before much bronchial damage occurs stop smoking (or avoid airborne dust, chemicals, or other situations that lead to bronchial irritation), they often have a good prognosis for many years.
Approximately half of smokers with chronic bronchitis will stop coughing after 1 month of smoking cessation. Most patients will no longer cough with continued abstinence from smoking. If airflow obstruction has occurred, this can improve but the improvement level depends on the duration of injury and the compliance with therapy. Obviously, the more impaired patients will have a lesser recovery of lung function.
Conversely, those individuals that have continued bronchial irritation have only a fair to poor prognosis, since repeated bouts with the disease usually get worse, with affected individuals having more frequent incidents of coughing and dyspnea over time and further progression of lung function abnormalities.
Fayyaz, J., MD. "Bronchitis." Medscape. Updated: Jun 03, 2016.
Gotfried M, Grossman R. Short-course fluroquinolones in acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. Expert Rev Respir Med, 4(5):661-672, 2010