bronchial spasm

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Related to bronchial spasm: bronchospasm


1. a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.
2. a sudden, transitory constriction of a passage, canal, or orifice; spasms usually occur when the nerves supplying muscles are irritated, and are often accompanied by pain. A vasospasm is a rare type that occurs in a blood vessel. Spasms vary from mild twitches to severe convulsions and may be the symptoms of any number of disorders. Usually, they will cease when the cause is corrected, but sometimes the only treatment is to suppress the symptoms, as in epilepsy.

Clonic Spasms. These are spasms in which contraction and relaxation of the muscle alternate; this is the most common type of spasm and usually is not severe. A typical clonic spasm is the hiccup. Hiccups usually occur when the diaphragm is irritated, as by indigestion, although occasionally they may result from a serious condition such as a brain tumor; they generally disappear by themselves or after a drink of water.

Spasms may be repetitive twitching motions, some of which are called tics. Tics often accompany other types of spasm, as in such diseases as cerebral palsy and sydenham's chorea, and may also be seen in neuralgia. In tic douloureux the nerves of the face are involved.

Habit spasms are a type of repetitive twitching movements that seem purposeless or without a cause; they include twitching of the face, blinking of the eyes, and grimacing. The movements are rapid and always repeated in the same way, unlike the spasms associated with chorea. The motions are carried out automatically in response to a stimulus that once may have existed but no longer does.

In a convulsive spasm the entire body is jerked by sudden violent movements that may involve almost all the muscles. These spasms may last from a fraction of a second to several seconds, or even minutes. (See also convulsion.)
Tonic Spasms. If the contraction of a spasm is sustained or continuing, it is called a tonic or tetanic spasm. These are generally severe because they are caused by diseases that affect the central nervous system or brain, such as tetanus, rabies, and cerebral palsy. Severe tonic spasms can be fatal if not treated promptly; continued spasms can bring on exhaustion or asphyxiation. The treatment varies with the cause; if the disease is caused by a microorganism in the system, as in tetanus, antiserum must be administered immediately. Antibiotics are also used to help curb infection. In many cases tranquilizers, sedatives, and narcotics must be administered to help ease the spasms.
bronchial spasm spasmodic contraction of the muscular coat of the smaller divisions of the bronchi, as occurs in asthma; called also bronchospasm.
clonic spasm a spasm consisting of clonic contractions; see also clonus.
infantile s's (infantile massive s's) (jackknife s's) a syndrome of severe myoclonus appearing in the first 18 months of life, and associated with general cerebral deterioration; it is marked by severe flexion spasms of the head, neck, and trunk and extension of the arms and legs. Called also jackknife seizures.
nodding spasm clonic spasm of the sternomastoid muscles, causing a nodding motion of the head.
saltatory spasm clonic spasms of the muscles of the lower limbs, producing a peculiar jumping or springing action.
tetanic spasm (tonic spasm) physiological tetanus.

bronchial spasm


Spasmodic contraction of bronchial smooth muscle, which occurs in response to the release of histamine and bradykinins.

Asthma, chronic bronchitis, anaphylaxis (peanuts, shellfish and other allergenic foods), bee stings, pilocarpine, beta blockers, cold exposure, general anaesthesia.

bron·chi·al spasm

(brong'kē-ăl spazm)
Acute constriction of the bronchi and bronchioles resulting in decreased pulmonary function; also known as bronchospasm.


pertaining to or affecting one or more bronchi.

bronchial calculus
a hard concretion formed in a bronchus by accretion about an inorganic nucleus or from calcified portions of lung tissue or adjacent lymph nodes.
bronchial edema
mucosal edema occurs in response to irritation and inflammation of tracheobronchial epithelium. Contributes to increased airway resistance.
feline bronchial asthma
a syndrome in cats characterized by acute episodes of coughing and dyspnea with wheezing. Usually recurrent and believed to be due to allergic reaction. Similar to allergic asthma in humans.
bronchial hypoplasia
swollen spongy tissue or cystic, lobulated tissue replaces lobes of normal lung tissue because of the impediment to air flow caused by dilated or collapsed hypoplastic bronchi; probably the basic defect in adenomatoid hamartoma or congenital adenomatoid malformation.
bronchial pattern
bronchi become more prominent in x-rays because they become more dense than surrounding air-filled lung tissue. Caused by peribronchial infiltration, fluid within the bronchus and calcification of the bronchial cartilage. Seen in chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis.
bronchial spasm
bronchial tones
are the sounds made by the respired air as it passes through the larger air passages of normal lungs. They are best heard over the bifurcation of the trachea. They are harsher and louder than the vesicular murmur, the normal sounds produced in the parenchyma of the lung.
bronchial tree
the bronchi and their branching subdivisions.
bronchial tumors
see pulmonary neoplasm.


1. a sudden involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.
2. a sudden but transitory constriction of a passage, canal or orifice. Spasms usually occur when the nerves supplying muscles are irritated, and are commonly accompanied by pain. Occasionally a spasm may occur in a blood vessel, and is then called vasospasm.
Spasms vary from mild twitches to severe seizures and may be the signs of any number of disorders.

bronchial spasm
bronchospasm; spasmodic contraction of the muscular coat of the smaller divisions of the bronchi.
esophageal spasm
occurs mostly in young horses, the cause is unknown and the clinical syndrome is one of esophageal obstruction.
inherited congenital spasm's
in Jersey calves at birth; lethal within a few weeks; characterized by intermittent, vertical tremor of the head, neck and limbs, making progression and standing impossible; conditioned by a recessive gene.
muscle mass spasm
the basic functional defect in such diseases as Elso heel, inherited periodic spasticity.
nodding spasm
clonic spasm of the sternomastoid muscles, causing a nodding motion of the head.
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