Medical Therapy for Bronchiectasis in Adults

Doctors at NYU Langone recommend manual techniques and devices to help open the airways and reduce mucus and inflammation in people with bronchiectasis. NYU Langone pulmonologists collaborate with pulmonary rehabilitation specialists at Rusk Rehabilitation to develop the best treatment plan for you.

Airway Clearance Therapy

The buildup of mucus in the lungs caused by bronchiectasis increases the risk of severe lung infections. A therapy known as airway clearance can help prevent thick mucus from building up. One technique, known as manual chest therapy, or percussion, involves a rhythmic clapping of the chest to break up lung mucus so it becomes easier to cough up. 

Doctors may also recommend a mucus-clearing device. Breathing into the device causes a fluttering or vibration of the airways, loosening mucus and making it easier to cough up.

NYU Langone pulmonologists, rehabilitation physicians, and physical therapists can show you how to perform these therapies and can recommend devices and techniques you can use at home.

Oxygen Therapy

If bronchiectasis is severe, it can prevent you from getting enough oxygen. If this occurs, your NYU Langone pulmonologist may recommend oxygen therapy. Oxygen is delivered to the lungs through small plastic tubes that are placed in the nostrils, or through a face mask that fits over the nose and mouth. Oxygen canisters are portable and are often available through medical suppliers.

Doctors may initially prescribe oxygen therapy for use in situations that demand more oxygen, such as exercise or sleep. If symptoms worsen, your doctor may recommend continuous oxygen therapy, which is used around the clock.

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