Bronchiectasis is a lung condition that causes cough, sputum production, and recurrent respiratory infections.
The symptoms are caused by abnormal dilation (widening) of the airways of the lung (bronchi). In some cases only one airway is affected. In other cases, many are affected. In very severe cases, dilation of the airways occurs throughout the lungs.
This dilation makes it difficult to bring up secretions (sputum, phlegm, mucus) from the lower airways. These sticky secretions provide an ideal place for many kinds of germs to live and grow. This leads to infection and overgrowth of bacteria which leads to inflammation (swelling and irritation). Infection and inflammation further damage the airways and cause more dilation and worsening bronchiectasis.