Bronchospasm - what is it? Causes, symptoms and treatment

For once in our life, but each of us experienced a bronchospasm. What it is? This is a sudden attack of suffocation, which occurs as a result of a spasm of smooth muscles. There are many reasons for this condition, but for the most part it is either an allergy or an infection of the respiratory tract.

bronchospasm what is it

Bronchospasm: what is it?

Bronchospasm is called the narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi due to the reduction of smooth muscles in response to exposure to irritants in allergic or infectious diseases.

In this condition, the patient inhales air freely, but cannot make a full exhalation. The passage of air is accompanied by muscle tension, wheezing and noise. You can hear it especially well with the help of a stetofonendoskop.

If the spasm can be stopped with the help of drugs that expand the bronchi, then there is a high probability that the cause of this condition was asthma.If therapy does not help, then airway obstruction is irreversible, and it is necessary to look for a viral or bacterial cause of the disease.


It is always better to prevent than to treat bronchospasm. What it is? This is a sudden difficulty of exhalation caused by a narrowing of the lumen of the bronchi. In order to take preventive measures, it is important to understand what caused this condition.

First of all, the reasons can be a variety of allergies: food, dust, drugs, household and many others. Of course, most often bronchospasm is caused by trigger factors that are in the air: pollen, dust, smoke, various sharp odors.

In the second place among the causes of bronchospasm are foreign bodies that a child or an adult can inhale accidentally. The body tends to get rid of the irritant and contract the muscles.

The third honorable place is occupied by infectious pathology. Bacterial or viral diseases of the respiratory tract cause increased production of mucus, which becomes too viscous and thick and does not have time to evacuate from the lumen of the bronchi. This causes obstruction of the lumen of the drainage system.

Risk factors

How can you provoke bronchospasm? What it is? A sudden sharp spasm of the bronchi, most likely, will develop in people whose body is already tuned to a certain type of pathological reaction - hyperergic.

At risk are those who already have episodes of respiratory failure in the family. These could be asthma attacks, an anaphylactic reaction, or congenital defects of the respiratory system. A history of food or drug allergy in a person increases the likelihood of developing shortness of breath and breathing problems.

Young children have an increased reactivity of the bronchial mucosa and often suffer from catarrhal diseases, so they are much more likely to develop bronchospasm than the average in the population.

Passive and active smoking changes the physiology of the lungs, causing hypersecretion of mucus, as well as accumulation of mast cells that carry class E immunoglobulins on their surface, which are aimed at triggering allergic reactions. Work in hazardous industries and a permanent state of stress can also play a role in increasing the reactivity of the body.

bronchospasm symptoms

Development mechanism

The reactions of the human body to stimuli, as a rule, are stereotypical. It makes absolutely no difference what exactly causes the reaction - an alien agent or a vital preparation, for the body these are all hostile antigens. Therefore, the spasm is a typical defensive reaction.

The body narrows the lumen of the bronchi so that a chemical, microbial agent or foreign body does not penetrate further into the alveoli. But the muscles that have decreased, can not always return to its original position without the help of drugs.

Due to prolonged squeezing, the blood stagnates in the vessels and sweats through their wall, creating swelling. This further narrows the lumen of the bronchi, interfering with normal air circulation. If at this moment the patient is not provided with emergency care, he may die of oxygen starvation.

Trying to compensate for the lack of oxygen, a person makes superficial convulsive inhalations, but since exhalation is difficult, air accumulates inside the lungs, aggravating the situation even more.

bronchospasm in children

Clinical manifestations

How does bronchospasm manifest itself? Its symptoms are quite specific.The patient feels an acute lack of air, a sense of panic and fear. Dyspnea is heard at a distance, inhaling and exhaling are difficult. You may experience painful dry cough. It is usually unproductive or accompanied by the separation of a meager amount of sputum.

Human skin is pale, sometimes with a bluish tinge on the tips of the fingers and around the mouth, it is thrown into sweat, then in the cold. The heart beats quickly, there can be interruptions in rhythm, but the tones are muffled, as the lungs overgrown with gas interfere with effective auscultation.

The naked eye can see the movement of the auxiliary respiratory muscles: intercostal muscles, abdomen, diaphragm, nose wings, and others. In some cases, the patient takes a forced posture: sitting, resting on his arms and head down.

You will not forget if you have ever seen a bronchospasm. Symptoms in adults and treatment of this process are closely related. This is especially true of urgent measures, because for etiotropic therapy, you must first find out the cause of the spasm.

bronchospasm treatment


It is quite simple to determine that the patient has bronchospasm.Symptoms are quite characteristic, because the person suffocates, but how do you know which agent caused the pathological condition to prevent the situation from recurring?

To do this, the doctor at the time of the attack listens to the patient's breath and gives him drugs that expand the bronchi. If this therapy helps, then this indicates bronchial asthma. But you can’t be completely sure of anything, so after normalization of the condition, a person should take an x-ray, undergo spirometry and peak flow measurement, be sure to do skin allergy tests and visit the pulmonologist with all this belongings.

The doctor may draw some information from sputum tests, which in asthma has certain features, and blood. But without all the rest of the diagnosis and careful collection of anamnesis, it will not be so easy to establish the cause of the attack.

bronchospasm symptoms in adults

Bronchospasm in children

In the broadest sense of the word, bronchospasm in a child is no different from that in an adult, but is the cause of parental panic, as well as unexpected complications in the treatment process - for doctors. Therefore, it is necessary to remember a few simple rules for helping children with an attack of suffocation:

  1. Break contact with the allergen.
  2. Wash baby, unbutton clothes (belts, collars, cuffs).
  3. Give a bronchodilator.
  4. You can give a warm drink to improve the discharge of sputum.
  5. Be sure to call an ambulance or local doctor.

Do not rub the child with sharp-smelling substances (turpentine, essential oils, honey, mustard plaster). Do not give drugs that suppress the cough reflex, as well as antiallergic and sedatives.

bronchospasm symptoms treatment

First aid

What to do if you see that a passerby or relative has bronchospasm? Symptoms in adults may appear suddenly, and not everyone is ready for this. Before the arrival of physicians, it is necessary to provide at least a feasible non-professional assistance.

To begin with, remove or unfasten the victim's tight clothing and increase the access of fresh air (open the windows, move the person to open space). If you know that the patient suffers from asthma, then he should have an inhaler with him. Use this advantage to relieve spasm. If the cough continues, you can give a person a drink of warm mineral water or milk with soda.But it is better to do this not immediately after the attack, but somewhat after.

Emergency medical assistance is the introduction of a dropper with glucocorticosteroids, "Euphyllin" and (in the absence of effect) adrenaline. This set should be enough to take the patient to the hospital and pass into the hands of emergency doctors.

bronchospasm treatment in adults


How to remove bronchospasm? After providing emergency care, when the danger to life is eliminated, be sure to go to a pulmonologist and an allergist. It is necessary to find out exactly what provoked the attack.

If the root of the problem is an over-reaction of the human body to dust, odor or smoke, then doctors recommend avoiding triggers, desensitization therapy (it can take from ten months to a year) and always carry an inhaler with drugs that rapidly expand the bronchi.

Pneumonia caused bronchospasm? Treatment will be limited to the prescription of antibiotics or antiviral (depending on the etiology of the inflammatory process) drugs. After recovery from the underlying disease, and asthma attacks will pass.

The main problem for the doctor and the patient is bronchial asthma, since it cannot be cured, but can be controlled.A pulmonologist after studying the tests will be able to say what degree of bronchial contraction in the patient and prescribe the appropriate therapy. It may be just a change of diet and exercise, there may be short-acting drugs that need to be used during an attack or bronchodilators for continuous use. In severe cases, it is recommended to use hormones.

Folk remedies

Not everyone has confidence in traditional medicine, but in such cases as bronchospasm, the symptoms and treatment are closely related, so you have to trust people in white coats. If it was not a “one-time action”, and the attack was repeated several times, then you can consider taking preventive measures.

Make sure that the patient does not have an allergy to folk remedies, otherwise the treatment may itself become a cause of suffocation. There is a recipe according to which a person should eat ten days a teaspoonful of honey mixed with finely chopped garlic. But another option is to take lingonberry juice and honey in equal shares, combine them and eat a tablespoon every day half an hour before meals.

Honey treatment is not a panacea, so you still have to go and see a doctor. At least in order to control your recovery.

What not to do when suffocating

The feeling of panic is normal if a person has developed bronchospasm before your eyes. Treatment in adults of this condition can be long, but it is important not to aggravate the problems before the arrival of the doctors.

First of all, do not give as an aid medicines that suppress cough. It is necessary that the sputum freely withdrawn from the bronchi. Antihistamines will not help either, as they make the secret even more viscous and keep it in the lungs.

It is forbidden to put mustard plasters, to rub a person with aroma oils, creams and ointments that have a strong odor. And also you should not use honey, as many people have allergies to it.

At the time of the attack, do not give the person a sedative. This will only worsen his condition.

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