Bronchospasm occurs when the muscles in the airways constrict rapidly. It can cause breathing difficulties, pain and anxiety. In some cases, this can be due to clinical negligence, and people who have suffered personal injuries due to bronchospasm may be able to make a medical negligence compensation claim.
Essentially, bronchospasms are a kind of cough. However, while coughs usually occur when the body wants to clear an airway, bronchospasms are more like an involuntary muscle spasm. Sufferers say bronchospasms are worse than normal coughs, as they cause an unpleasant tightness in the chest and can lead to a coughing fit.
Some clinical negligence claims occur when doctors fail to recognise bronchospasm and tell their patients that they simply have a regular cough. If the condition that causes bronchospasm worsens due to this misdiagnosis, or if the patient experiences financial losses such as lost wages as a result of it, they may be able to claim clinical negligence compensation.
What causes bronchospasm?
Bronchospasm happens due to a number of different factors. The factors that led to a particular case of the condition will influence the treatment options patients receive.
- Excessive mucus production :-Excessive mucus production is usually due to allergies, especially asthma, although some hayfever sufferers and people with food or animal allergies can experience this problem.
- Inflammation of the airways:- Many conditions cause inflammation of the airways, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Furthermore, when people with certain allergies are exposed to these allergens, their airways can inflame as an immune response. In serious cases, this immune response leads to a potentially fatal condition called anaphylaxis.
- Illness and disease:- People with chronic bronchitis and similar respiratory conditions can also experience bronchospasm. Pilocarpine, which is used to treat glaucoma, xerostomia, and certain poisons, can also induce bronchospasm. Patients who believe they are suffering from bronchospasm due to prescription medicines should inform their doctor about their concerns.
- Emotional Stress:- Not always a victim of respiratory syndromes or asthma receives bronchospasm. People under high emotional stress can also suffer the problem. A person who experiences stress and anxiety for relatively long time is more likely to become victim of bronchospasm.
- Allergens and Irritants:- Common allergy causing substances ‘allergens’ can be the reason behind these conditions of contracting airways. A person suffering from allergy may receive episode of bronchospasm when inhales allergens and irritants. Such irritants and allergens may include chemicals, dusts, pets, smoke and smog, pollen, food and odours.
- Clinical negligence during anaesthesia:- Anaesthesia errors are commonly seen in medical negligence claims, and bronchospasm is a factor in many of these. When people are placed under anaesthetic and fitted with a breathing tube, this can cause bronchospasm, which can make it difficult for doctors to maintain the patient’s airway. This can lead to oxygen deprivation, brain damage and death.
- Other causes:- People exposed to cold and dry atmosphere can also develop the conditions. Vigorous physical exercise can lead to bronchospasm especially for those who are already suffering from respiratory conditions.
Symptoms of bronchospasm
Bronchospasm itself is not a disease but, a symptom develops due to respiratory syndromes like asthma, bronchitis, COPD and allergies.The symptoms of bronchospasm are tightening and stretching of chest and painful coughs that can lead to shortage of breath. Sufferers can cough several times in rapid succession and can wheeze when they breathe. High mucus formation is one of the symptoms. Presence of mucus in airways causes breath shortness. Increased breathing rates, such as during exercise or following a coughing fit, can increase the effects of the condition.
However, many other coughs have similar symptoms. If you feel like you are suffering from bronchospasm, you should speak to a doctor rather than diagnose yourself. Your doctor can identify the leading factor, disease or substances which can vary from person to person. Identification of triggers can guide curing the bronchospasm. If you are making a misdiagnosis medical negligence claim because you feel your bronchospasm was incorrectly diagnosed, then ensure you receive a second opinion.
Treatments of bronchospasm
There are a range of drugs that can be used to treat bronchospasm or to alleviate its symptoms by opening up their airways. The right medication for each individual patient will depend on the cause of their bronchospasm. Immunosuppressant drugs can reduce the effects of an allergic response, causing any inflammation in the lungs to gradually subside. One immunosuppressant regularly used in the treatment of bronchospasm is prednisone.
Bronchodilartors, such as aminophylline, are also used to treat bronchospasm or to prevent outbreaks in vulnerable patients. This does not give instant relief, however, and sufferers should use a fast-acting inhaled bronchodilator to reduce the intensity of acute attacks. This could be sabutomol sulphate, which is inhaled to directly relieve the smooth muscles in the airways. As a result, some people with bronchospasm find nebulisers and other asthma treatments provide a great deal of help to them.
There’s no harm in relaxing and taking some time off when afflicted with severe bronchospasm – in fact, sufferers may be unable to go to work. Exercises and activities that cause heavy or laboured breathing should be avoided, as this can trigger an attack. As the condition is caused by muscle spasms, patients should give their muscles some time off to avoid tensing or stressing them.
However, the most important treatment for bronchospasm is to visit a doctor. The condition could be covering up bronchitis or even more serious diseases. Some of the medicines used to treat the illness can interact with other common drugs and compounds and lead to serious adverse effects.
If you are not happy with the standard of treatment you have received from your doctor and believe this caused you to suffer a personal injury or caused a pre-existing health problem to worsen, or if you believe their negligence of doctors led to you developing bronchospasm, you can claim medical negligence compensation. Personal injury solicitors will be able to advise you about making your claim.