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Acute BronchitisA lower respiratory tract infection—up to 95% of which are viral—which causes reversible bronchial inflammation.
Clinical findings Cough, fever, sputum, wheezing, rhonchi
DiffDx Asthma, aspergillosis, occupational exposure, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia
Management Antibiotics rarely shorten course of disease; bronchodilators—e.g., albuterol—may provide symptomatic relief.
acute bronchitisPulmonology A lower RTI–up to 95% of which are viral–that causes reversible bronchial inflammation Clinical Cough, fever, sputum, wheezing, rhonchi DiffDx Asthma, aspergillosis, occupational exposure, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia Management Antibiotics rarely shorten the course of disease; bronchodilators–eg, albuterol may provide symptomatic relief. See Asthma.
Patients are treated with bedrest, increased fluid intake, and antipyretics and analgesics for comfort. Antibiotics are rarely indicated (even if purulent sputum is present), unless bacterial infection is determined by culture or the symptoms continue for more than 10 days or there is an underlying disease such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease, or an immunodeficiency. Some prolonged cases of acute bronchitis will eventually prove to be caused by pertussis, which will respond to erythromycin-based drugs. A chest x-ray examination to check for pneumonia is indicated when clinically suspected (the presence of severe respiratory symptoms, fever, tachycardia, hypoxia, or abnormal lung sounds).