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How does bronchiectasis impact life expectancy?

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A variety of factors determine life expectancy with bronchiectasis, including what caused the condition and how well any complications are controlled, according to Merck Manual. Patients with co-existing conditions and those who develop complications have poorer prognoses. A patient with advanced bronchiectasis may lengthen his life expectancy with a lung transplant.

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Patients who develop complications such as cor pulmonale or pulmonary hypertension may experience shorter life expectancies, explains Merck Manual. Bronchiectasis patients with conditions such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis also have a poorer prognoses.

Doctors recommend lung transplants primarily for patients with advanced bronchiectasis and advanced cystic fibrosis, states Merck Manual. Patients are often breathing better within six months after the transplant, and the improvement can be maintained for five years or more. Bronchiectasis patients who receive a double lung or heart-lung transplant have 65 to 75 percent survival rates five years after the surgery.

Getting treatment for conditions that lead to bronchiectasis can prevent the condition or lessen its severity, reports Merck Manual. Prevention includes getting annual influenza vaccines. Children should receive vaccines for measles and whooping cough, and adults should also receive pneumonia vaccinations. Other ways to prevent bronchiectasis include reducing exposure to toxic fumes, injurious dusts, smoke and gases.

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