Features of sputum in bronchial asthma, ways to remove exudate

One of the causes of bronchial obstruction is the secretion of thick secretions. At the diagnostic stage, it is very important to understand the cause of the disease, for this it is necessary to do a sputum analysis.

According to the results of the analysis, one can judge the severity of chronic inflammation of the bronchi, as well as the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment. In bronchial asthma, based on the study of the secret, conclusions can be drawn about the progression of the disease and the further prognosis.

What is sputum

Normally, a small amount of mucus is secreted into the airway. It is necessary for lubricating the walls, protecting them from infection and drying out.

With inflammation, the production of secretion increases, it becomes more viscous and thick, the color changes. Its smell also changes, which often indicates a severe pathology.

Sputum in bronchial asthma is excreted with a cough, may contain impurities of blood or bronchial epithelium. Removal of a viscous secretion outside is rather difficult, therefore it accumulates in the lumen of the bronchi, disrupting the patient’s breathing.

This becomes one of the causes of a choking attack.

Types and features of sputum in asthma

For differential diagnosis, the characteristics of the discharge from the respiratory tract are of great importance. To do this, you must carefully examine the material:

  1. The transparent color of sputum with a white tinge in bronchial asthma indicates a disease of the respiratory system in the initial stage. At the same time, mucus is produced actively due to exposure to allergens, which are thus removed from the respiratory tract.
  2. A discharge of yellow color means that an infectious inflammatory process develops in the respiratory system.
  3. Greenish discharge appears with moderate to severe inflammation.
  4. Thick brown mucus indicates vascular damage and recent bleeding.
  5. Pink frothy sputum in asthma indicates bleeding due to damage to the vessel wall.

The patient should be asked about the nature of sputum in bronchial asthma first of all, since this directly affects the treatment of the disease and the prognosis. Be sure to analyze the mucus released during coughing at the diagnostic stage.

Sputum analysis as a method for diagnosing asthma

It is advisable to conduct a sputum analysis if you suspect bronchial asthma and any other respiratory diseases. The composition, qualitative and quantitative characteristics are necessarily examined, the material is inoculated to identify pathogens and for sensitivity to antibacterial agents (if necessary).

In the presence of bronchial asthma, such an analysis is one of the key in the diagnosis of the disease. Based on its results, one can assume the cause of asthma and, based on this, choose a treatment method.

Preparation and collection of biomaterial

It is very important to prepare before taking sputum for analysis. Correctly performed preparation affects the reliability of the result obtained:

  1. 8-12 hours before the delivery of the material, the patient should consume more fluid. This is necessary to improve the discharge of the secret.
  2. The biomaterial is usually handed over in the morning, before expectoration, you need to brush your teeth to remove food debris and microorganisms.
  3. A few days before the analysis, alcohol should not be consumed, smoking and heavy food are excluded, physical activity is limited.
  4. Coughing up mucus is carried out in a clean dish, before that all saliva must be spat out. It is recommended to clear the nasopharynx before collecting the exudate.

For analysis, 3-5 ml of cough discharge will be enough. The material must be delivered to the laboratory within 2-3 hours: this is the optimal time for obtaining a reliable result.


The exudate is submitted to the laboratory, where its detailed analysis is carried out: the physical and chemical properties are evaluated, the cellular composition is examined. Based on the data obtained, treatment is prescribed, taking into account the type of microflora detected.

The process of examining a sample of material for bronchial asthma usually lasts at least three days from the moment it was submitted to the laboratory. Of the features of the assessment of the material: a huge role is played by the color of the discharge and impurities, among which, in severe cases, you can see tissue fragments of the wall of the bronchial tree.

Decoding the results

As a result, the laboratory assistant must indicate the cellular composition of the material, according to which the nature and nature of the disease is established:

  • with an increased content of erythrocytes, vascular damage can be assumed due to a destructive process in the tissues of the respiratory tract;
  • a large number of eosinophils in mucus are characteristic of bronchial asthma, they indicate its allergic nature;
  • Charcot-Leiden crystals indicate an allergic process and its progression;
  • the amount of ciliated epithelium increases with bronchial obstruction or inflammation of the bronchi;
  • Kurshman’s spirals in the analysis are a pathognomonic sign of asthma, they speak of bronchial spasm and the accumulation of thick secretions in the lumen;
  • macrophages in the secreted mucus confirm the diagnosis of asthma.

Equally important is the ratio of the content of these cells. Treatment is prescribed depending on the predominance of certain cellular structures.

If pathogens are identified in the material, then it is necessary to carry out bacteriological inoculation.

Why is sputum accumulation dangerous?

Sputum in asthma in the bronchi is produced a lot during an attack. It becomes very thick, blocking the lumen. This has the following consequences:

  • blockage of the airways as a result of the inability to remove mucus and, as a result, choking;
  • unproductive cough with phlegm and wheezing, lack of air;
  • obstruction of the bronchi, which are deformed during prolonged inflammation, changes in the structure of their tissues.

How to deal with phlegm

One of the main tasks in the treatment of bronchial asthma is to improve the discharge of sputum along the bronchial tree. This can be achieved with medication.

It is also necessary to follow the general recommendations.

For bronchial asthma with sputum, the following is prescribed:

  • expectorants (improve mucus discharge);
  • mucolytics (contribute to liquefaction and accelerated excretion of sputum);
  • antihistamines (reduce swelling, in case of allergies, fight the cause);
  • herbal remedies in the form of decoctions for oral administration and inhalation (help to remove mucus).

In the room where a person with bronchial asthma lives, high humidity should be maintained. For this you can use special humidifiers.

Asthmatics need to drink at least one and a half liters of liquid per day, inhale with steam with the addition of fir oil.


Bronchial asthma is a chronic disease, but it can and should be kept under control. To do this, you need to consult a doctor in time, who will prescribe an examination.

One of the most important in diagnosing asthma is sputum examination. It helps to distinguish it from other diseases and to prescribe the correct treatment.

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