A chronic inflammation of the bronchial mucosa due to irritation (tobacco, pollution), allergy (asthma) or infection (repetitive acute bronchitis). It may develop into chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Productive cough for 3 consecutive months per year for 2 successive years.
- No dyspnoea at onset. Dyspnoea develops after several years, first on exertion, then becoming persistent.
- On pulmonary auscultation: bronchial wheeze (always exclude tuberculosis).
A patient with an acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis presents with:
- Onset or increase of dyspnoea.
- Increased volume of sputum.
- Purulent sputum.
- Antibiotic treatment is not useful in treating simple chronic bronchitis.
- Antibiotic treatment may be useful, for patients in a poor general condition only, for acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis (see Acute bronchitis).
- Discourage smoking and other irritating factors.