How Serious is Bronchiectasis for Someone Living with COPD?

Bronchiectasis symptoms, COPDBronchiectasis and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are two individual chronic lung conditions that share similar symptoms, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, general fatigue, and recurring lung infections. If you’re living with COPD or asthma, you may develop bronchiectasis later in life, resulting in an overlap of symptoms, also known as bronchiectasis-COPD overlap syndrome (BCOS).


How Serious is COPD?

According to the American Lung Association, more than 11 million Americans are affected with COPD, yet many are unaware that they’re living with this condition. As with bronchiectasis, there is no known cure for treating COPD, which is why early intervention is key to managing the disease, living well, and breathing easier. 


Does COPD Cause Bronchiectasis?

Though both share similar symptoms, bronchiectasis develops in the lungs after long-term exposure to repeated respiratory inflammation and infection that over time can permanently damage the lungs and airways. New evidence does suggest, however, that COPD can act as a catalyst for bronchiectasis-related symptoms, if the condition is not treated properly. Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that bronchiectasis and COPD occur separately.

Bronchiectasis Causes

How Many People are Diagnosed with Both Bronchiectasis and COPD?

The overlap between bronchiectasis and COPD has been observed in upwards of 57% of patients with COPD. However, bronchiectasis remains an underdeveloped area of study, and it is likely that patients living with COPD may not realize they’re also exhibiting signs of bronchiectasis. What this means for you or your loved one is you may not be receiving adequate treatment to manage your symptoms and stop the cycle of irreversible lung damage. 


A patient inside a CT machine being scanned

Can I Treat COPD and Bronchiectasis with the Same Therapy?

If your chronic pulmonary condition is causing you to experience recurring infections that require hospitalization and multiple courses of antibiotics, it may be time to ask your doctor for a HRCT (high-resolution computerized tomography) scan. If your doctor confirms that you’re experiencing bronchiectasis-related symptoms (i.e. shortness of breath, frequent cough, recurring inflammation), the next step will be prescribing an effective airway clearance device to help you find relief and get back to life’s most important moments. 

High frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) therapy with the SmartVest Airway Clearance System is clinically proven to reduce bronchiectasis-related exacerbations requiring hospitalization and stabilize key lung function parameters.1 Our respiratory device works by delivering repeated pulses of air that gently squeeze and release your chest wall to help thin and loosen mucus from your lungs, so it’s more easily coughed out to help prevent infection. 


Manage Your COPD and Bronchiectasis Symptoms

If you’re ready for a simpler solution to relieving your symptoms and getting back to living your fullest life with the people you love, request a patient packet to learn more about SmartVest


Breathe Easier with SmartVest


  1.  British Lung Institute. “Causes of Bronchiectasis. Retrieved from
  2. Bronchiectasis News Today. “Bronchiectasis in COPD Patients Carries Higher Risk of Acute Flares and Other Respiratory Problems, Study Shows.” Retrieved from
  3. American Lung Association. “How Serious is COPD?” Retrieved from
  4. Lung Disease News (2015) COPD and Bronchiectasis: Similarities and differences. Retrieved from
  5. Martínez-García, M.A., et al. Prognostic Value of Bronchiectasis in Patients with Moderate-to-Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013;187(8):823–31.