If we diagnose you with bronchiectasis, we will discuss with you a specific treatment plan. This will be tailored to you personally, based on what will be most beneficial to you.

Physiotherapy for bronchiectasis

Physiotherapy is an important part of managing bronchiectasis. 

We may teach you airway clearance techniques (ACT), which may include postural drainage (PD) exercises. These involve lying on alternate sides and performing breathing exercises which help drain phlegm. 

You should carry out these exercises once or twice a day for at least 20 minutes per session. With regular airway clearance, you will cough up mucus which might otherwise collect in the lungs. This prevents infection and means you are less likely to cough up mucus at other times of the day.


Exercising in any form also helps the lungs clear mucus and improves general fitness.


Treatment with medication may help. There are several types of drugs used to ease the symptoms of bronchiectasis. 

  • Bronchodilators - these expand your airways, making it easier to breathe and reducing any shortness of breath or chest pain. They can also help improve the normal ways the body clears mucus. 

  • Nasal sprays or drops - these can help with a runny nose and sinus pain. 

  • Antibiotics - you may be given these to fight lung infections and reduce inflammation in the lungs.


Surgery can be helpful in some cases. Unfortunately, bronchiectasis often affects many different areas of the lungs, making surgery inappropriate.

How you can help yourself

  • If you are a smoker, it is beneficial to stop. There is lots of support to help you – your GP can give you more advice. You should also avoid passive smoke and other air pollutants such as dust or traffic fumes.

  • Get a flu vaccine every year and a pneumococcal vaccine every seven to ten years as recommended by your doctor. 

  • Do regular exercise and perform the exercises given to you by your physiotherapist. 

  • Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. 

Following your treatment plan can reduce the effect of bronchiectasis and improve your quality of life. 


Bronchiectasis is a disease affecting the walls of the 'bronchi' – the tubes that carry air through the lungs. 

Lung function unit

Fulham wing/South block, Fulham Road

Tel: +44 (0)20 7351 8910
Fax: +44 (0)20 7351 8080