Treatment of Chronic Bronchitis

Complete Guide to Treatrment of Chronic Bronchitis

Treatment of chronic bronchitis involves keeping the airways open and functioning, facilitating removal of secretions and preventing further disability.

Your doctor may prescribe any or all of the following treatment options:

Smoking Cessation

treatment for chronic bronchitis

Quitting smoking is the most important, yet most commonly overlooked, part of treatment for chronic bronchitis.

Smoking causes bronchoconstriction and paralyzes the cilia, the tiny, protective hairs that line the airways. Because cilia are important in removing irritating substances and particles from the lungs, damage to them results in difficulty or an inability to remove secretions. Smokers are also more susceptible to lung infections, which are a common problem for people with chronic bronchitis.

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Bronchodilators help remove bronchial secretions while relieving bronchospasm and reducing airway obstruction. In doing so, more oxygen is distributed throughout the lungs and breathing is improved.

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When a patient does not respond to more conservative measures, glucocorticoids may be prescribed as part of the treatment plan for chronic bronchitis. While glucocorticoids have many benefits, they are also associated with many risks.

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Phosphodiesterase-4 Inhibitors

Oral medication
Oral medication., user jsrcyclist

Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) inhibitors are a class of drug that treat inflammation in COPD. A once-daily medication, PDE4 inhibitors help reduce COPD exacerbation in patients with chronic bronchitis.

Read more about Daxas, the only approved PDE4 to date, for COPD:

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Chest Physiotherapy

Chest physiotherapy
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Chest physiotherapy, also referred to as chest percussion, is a technique that involves clapping on the chest and/or back to help loosen thick secretions in order to make them easier to expel, or cough up. It is often used with postural drainage and can be performed using cupped hands or an airway clearance device.

Both chest physiotherapy and postural drainage work best after a bronchodilator treatment.

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Postural Drainage

Lingula Postural Drainage
Lingula. Artwork by Carolyn Russell

Postural drainage is a technique that uses gravity to assist in the removal of secretions from the airways. It is often coupled with chest physiotherapy.

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Chronic Bronchitis Treatment
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Unless your doctor recommends otherwise, fluids are given by mouth or intravenously (if bronchospasm is severe) and are an important part of chronic bronchitis treatment. Proper hydration helps loosen secretions, making them easier to expel from the airways through coughing.



Smeltzer, Suzanne C. & Bare, Brenda, G. (1996). Brunnuer and Suddarth's Testbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing (8th Edition). Pennsylvania, PA: Lipponcott-Raven Publishers.

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