Because many of bronchiectasis’ symptoms are similar to other
conditions such as asthma or pneumonia, your doctor may need to perform
several tests to make an accurate diagnosis. He or she will begin by
listening to your breathing with a stethoscope. Then, several of the
following tests may be performed:
- Chest x-ray
A chest x-ray may or may not show airway damage associated with bronchiectasis,
and other tests may be needed.
- Chest Computed Tomography
This is the most common test for bronchiectasis because the CT
scan produces images of the airway that show the extent of the
and the area most affected.
- Sputum Culture
A sample of your sputum (mucus that you are coughing up) will be
sent to a laboratory to identify which germs are causing the
- Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy
A fiberoptic bronchoscopy may need to be performed, especially
if the symptoms of the disease appeared suddenly, to ensure that
no foreign bodies or tumors blocking the airways.
Function Test (PFT)
A pulmonary function test can determine the severity of abnormal
airflow out of the lungs.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A sample of your blood will be sent to a laboratory so that it
can be examined for signs of anemia or infection.
This test is used to look for signs of cystic fibrosis. A medication
that causes you to sweat will be applied to your skin, and a sample
of your sweat will be collected. It is then tested in a laboratory
to determine the amount of salt in your sweat. Those suffering
from cystic fibrosis will have a significantly greater amount
content in their sweat than the average person.
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