Bronchospasm


Bronchospasm

Bronchospasm is a sudden constriction of the muscles in the walls of the bronchioles. It is caused by the release (degranulation) of substances from mast cells or basophils under the influence of anaphylatoxins. It causes difficulty in breathing which can be very mild to severe.

Bronchospasm appears as the feature of asthma, chronic bronchitis, anaphylaxis, as a possible side-effect of the drug Pilocarpine (which is used to treat illness resulting from the ingestion of deadly nightshade as well as other things) and also as a side effect for Beta Blockers (used to treat hypertension). The overactivity of the bronchioles' muscle is a result of exposure to a stimulus which under normal circumstances would cause little or no response. The resulting constriction and inflammation causes a narrowing of the airways and an increase in mucous production; this reduces the amount of oxygen that is available to the individual causing breathlessness, coughing and hypoxia.

Bronchospasm is a serious potential complication of placing a breathing tube during general anesthesia. When the airways spasm or constrict in response to the irritating stimulus of the breathing tube, it is difficult to maintain the airway and the patient can become apneic.

See also

*Bronchoconstriction
*Bronchodilation
*Wheezing


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  • bronchospasm — [bräŋ′kō spaz΄əm] n. spasmodic contraction of the muscular walls of the bronchial air passages to the lungs, as in asthma, which makes breathing difficult bronchospastic [bräŋ΄kōspas′tik] adj …   English World dictionary

  • bronchospasm — Contraction of smooth muscle in the walls of the bronchi and bronchioles, causing narrowing of the lumen. Cf.:bronchoconstriction. * * * bron·cho·spasm bräŋ kə .spaz əm n constriction of the air passages of the lung (as in asthma) by spasmodic… …   Medical dictionary

  • bronchospasm — n. narrowing of bronchi by muscular contraction in response to some stimulus, as in asthma and bronchitis. The patient can usually inhale air into the lungs, but exhalation may require visible muscular effort and is accompanied by expiratory… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • bronchospasm — noun Date: circa 1901 constriction of the air passages of the lung (as in asthma) by spasmodic contraction of the bronchial muscles • bronchospastic adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bronchospasm — /brong keuh spaz euhm/, n. spasmodic contraction of the muscular lining of the bronchi, as in asthma, causing difficulty in breathing. [1900 05; BRONCHO + SPASM] * * * …   Universalium

  • bronchospasm — noun difficulty in breathing due to a contraction of smooth muscle in the walls of the bronchi and bronchioles …   Wiktionary

  • bronchospasm — n. spasmodic contraction of the bronchi (Medicine) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • bronchospasm — noun Medicine spasm of bronchial smooth muscle, producing narrowing of the bronchi …   English new terms dictionary

  • bronchospasm — bron·cho·spasm …   English syllables

  • bronchospasm — bron•cho•spasm [[t]ˈbrɒŋ kəˌspæz əm[/t]] n. pat spasmodic contraction of the muscular lining of the bronchi, as in asthma, causing difficulty in breathing • Etymology: 1900–05 bron cho•spas′tic ˈspæs tɪk adj …   From formal English to slang


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