Pathologically, bronchiectasis presents inflammatory dilatation and narrowing of the bronchi. Clinically, it is recognized chiefly by the presence of chronic cough and more or less characteristic, abundant sputum, and by the exclusion of purulent bronchitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, pulmonary abscess and empyema with bronchial fistulas. Bronchiectasis is essentially the result of infection of the bronchi, such as may be produced by any one of the chronic lung affections intrinsic or extrinsic to the bronchi. It may occur, therefore, as a complication of any one of the above mentioned conditions. Secondary abscess formation also occurs from ulcerative perforation of the bronchial walls.
The diagnosis, which presents no especial difficulties, is based on the history, clinical aspects of the case, and roentgen-ray and laboratory examinations. Chronic abscess of the multilocular type and multiple small scattered abscesses are sometimes differentiated with difficulty. Generally speaking, the symptoms and signs characteristic of infection are more marked