Chronic Bronchitis (cont.)

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What is the outlook (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.

Medically reviewed by Martin E Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery


Gotfried M, Grossman R. Short-course fluroquinolones in acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis. Expert Rev Respir Med, 4(5):661-672, 2010

Medscape Reference. Bronchitis.

National Institutes of Health. Chronic Bronchitis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/23/2015

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