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Lung diseases

Lung problems

06/05/2009

Question:

I had bronchitis in March. I had a pulmmonary function tests done last Friday and was told by my lung specialist that I have above average lung funtion. I see him because I have pulmonary hypertension. My Echo showed mild hypertension. The PFT was on Friday and then Monday I had to got to my doctor and he told me that I had bronchitis again. I had it only two months ago. He was suprised that I had it again so soon. Could this be the start of chronic bronchitis? I have never smoked so can people that never smoked still get chronic bronchitis. Since my PTF was good does that mean that I also don`t have asthma? I am trying to figure aout what is going on with my lungs.

Answer:

There was several possible reasons for recurrent bronchitis.

The good PFT rules out COPD, but asthma is still a possibility. In between attacks, people with asthma have normal PFT; only during attacks do they get abnormal PFTs. You could have asthma. Your lung specialist can order a test to look for asthma called a methacholine challenge. Essentially, they are trying to provoke a mild asthma attack and then reverse it.

Non-smokers can get chronic bronchitis but usually it associated with prolonged exposure to some irritant, including second-hand smoke.

Of course, you could also just have bad luck having 2 episodes of bronchitis close together, and this might not signify anything.

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Response by:

James   Knepler, MD James Knepler, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati