BRONCHODILATOR DRUGS
BRONCHOSCOPY
provoke an
asthma
attack. The effect can
be reversed by a
bronchodilator drug.
broncho dilator
drugs A group of
drugs that widen the bronchioles (small
airways in the lungs) to increase air flow
and improve breathing, especially in
the treatment of
asthma
and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (see
pul-
monary/ disease, chronic obstructive).
There are 3 main types of broncho-
dilator: sympathomimetic drugs (such
as
salbutamol), anticholinergic drugs,
and xanthine drugs (such as
amino-
phylline).
Sympathomimetic drugs are
used primarily for the rapid relief of
breathing difficulty.
Anticholinergic and
xanthine drugs are more often used for
the long-term prevention of attacks of
breathing difficulty. Drugs can be given
by
inhaler,
in tablet form, or, in severe
cases, by
nebulizer
or injection.
The main side effects of sympatho-
mimetics are palpitations and trembling.
Anticholinergics may cause dry mouth,
blurred vision, and, rarely, difficulty in
passing urine. Xanthines may cause
headaches, nausea and palpitations,
bronchography A rarely used
X-ray
procedure for examining the bronchi,
the main air passages of the lungs.
Once used to diagnose
bronchiectasis,
it
has now been largely replaced by other
imaging techniques, such as
CT scan-
ning,
and by the use of
bronchoscopy.
bronchopneumonia The most common
form of
pneumonia;
it differs from the
other main type of pneumonia (lobar
pneumonia) in that the inflammation is
spread throughout the lungs in small
patches around the airways, rather than
being confined to one lobe,
bronchoscopy Examination of the bron-
chi, which are the main ainvays of the
lungs, by means of an
endoscope
known
as a bronchoscope. There are 2 types of
bronchoscope: rigid and flexible. The
rigid type is a hollow viewing tube that
is passed into the bronchi via the
mouth and requires anaesthesia. The flex-
ible fibre-optic endoscope (a narrower
tube formed
from
light-transmitting
fibres) can be inserted through either
the mouth or nose. It can reach farther
into the lungs and requires only a mild
sedative and/or local anaesthesia.
Bronchoscopy is performed to inspect
the bronchi for abnormalities, such as
lung cancer
and
tuberculosis,
to collect
samples of mucus, to obtain cells, and
for taking
biopsy
specimens from the
airways or samples of lung tissue. Bron-
choscopy is used in treatments such as
removing inhaled foreign bodies, des-
troying abnormal growths, and sealing
off damaged blood vessels. The last 2
are carried out by
laser treatment, dia-
thermy,
or
cryosurgery
by means of
bronchoscope attachments.
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