Milan, 21 February 2023 – Cough, expectoration daily maybe with traces of blood and recurrent respiratory infections (including pneumonia)? They can also be i symptoms of bronchiectasis with chronic inflammatory respiratory conditions that are difficult to diagnose, and still without approved drug therapy.

  • What are bronchiectasis?
  • The cause
  • Symptoms
  • Treatments and medicines
  • The sick in Italy

What are bronchiectasis?

Bronchiectasis is irreversible dilatation of sections of the bronchi, due to lesions of the bronchial walls, with a consequent loss of the correct mucociliary clearance function, one of the protective mechanisms that our body uses to contrast and prevent viruses, bacteria and fungi from entering the lungs. The mucus, with its viscosity, traps the particles and is pushed upwards by the movement of the cell cilia, where it is ingested or expelled with a cough. If this system does not work properly it can contribute to respiratory infections or diseases.

The cause

They are usually caused by infections or by other conditions that damage the walls of the airways and prevent adequate elimination of the mucus, with the more than likely growth of bacteria that give rise to new infections which in turn can produce further damage to the airways themselves, starting a vicious circle.

Bronchiectasis is characterized by daily cough and phlegm and frequent infections airways caused by irreversible dilatation of the bronchi.

Treatments and medicines

“To date there are no approved drug therapies and specific to treat patients with bronchiectasis”, explains Stefano Aliberti, head of Pneumology at the Irccs Humanitas Clinical Institute, full professor of respiratory diseases at Humanitas University and coordinator of a workshop scheduled for 23 and 25 February. “Management passes above all through the daily respiratory physiotherapy and careful use of antibiotics. However, the latest evidence says that we are dealing with a disease supported by an important inflammatory component of the bronchi. Until a few years ago it was thought that the therapies should be sought only on infection control, but now new horizons are opening up for bronchiectasis patients: some of the drugs under study, in fact, are modulators of the immune system that reduce inflammation to bronchial level”.

The sick in Italy

“In Italy – they report from Humanitas – up to 500 adults out of 100,000 suffer from bronchiectasisbut this is an underestimated figure. This pathology can actually manifest itself from the first years of life, it can also have genetic components and aggravating factors due to a chronic infection by particular micro-organisms. The European community of scientists and industry experts confirms that bronchiectasis and its comorbidities continue to be often misdiagnosed and inappropriately treated. The epidemiology is still incomplete and varies from country to country, management is far from uniform and completely satisfactory, while specific drugs are not yet available, even if new therapies could be on the market in the near future”.

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