Medical Definition of Acute bronchitis

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Acute bronchitis: inflammation of the breathing tubes within the lungs (bronchial tubes or bronchi) as a result of an infection (viral or bacterial) or a chemical irritant (such as smoke or gastric acid reflux). The inflammation causes swelling of the lining of these breathing tubes, narrowing the tubes and promoting secretion of inflammatory fluid. Most commonly, acute bronchitis is due to a viral infection. Common viruses that cause bronchitis include the rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and the influenza virus. Symptoms are a cough that begins abruptly and can include a runny nose, nasal stuffiness, and sore throat. As opposed to acute bronchitis, chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition with a daily cough with sputum production for at least three months, two years in a row. Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for the development of both acute and chronic bronchitis. See also chronic bronchitis.

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COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018