Bronchitis: Assessment

Bronchitis: Inflammation of the bronchi with partial obstruction of the bronchi by secretions or constriction. Bronchitis may be acute or chronic with a productive cough. Chronic bronchitis is associated with cigarette smoking.  In the diagram above, secretions (produced by proliferation of mucous glands) are obstructing the passageway, resulting in deflation of the alveoli beyond the obstruction.

Assessment findings include:


  • hacking cough with thick sputum
  • chronic bronchitis produces dyspnea, fatigue, possible clubbing of fingers


  •  tactile fremitus normal


  •  resonant


  • normal vesicular breath sounds
  • voice sounds normal. 
  • Prolonged expiration may be present with chronic bronchitis
  • May have wheeze, or crackles over deflated areas

Explore the American Lung Association's site "Understanding Chronic Bronchitis"

Look for the answer to this question: What is the definition of chronic bronchitis?