Last updated: May 24, 2022
Viral (> 90% of cases)
The etiology of acute bronchitis is viral in > 90% of cases!
Acute bronchitis is a clinical diagnosis based on typical clinical features and auscultation findings
- Diagnostic studies are usually only required to: 
- Rule out alternative diagnoses: e.g., CBC, CXR, nasopharyngeal swab
- Evaluate for complications (e.g., pneumonia, AECOPD) in patients with:
- Atypical clinical findings
Increased risk of bacterial infection: e.g., smokers, patients > 75 years old, patients with lung disease
Routine laboratory and imaging studies 
Further diagnostic testing 
Consider targeted testing for alternate diagnoses or complications in patients with the following:
In otherwise healthy patients with typical clinical findings and normal vital signs, acute bronchitis does not require diagnostic testing. 
The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.
Acute bronchitis is generally self-limiting. Treatment is focused on the relief of symptoms. 
- Recommend rest and adequate hydration.
- Advise patients to avoid lung irritants (e.g., smoke, incense). 
- Reevaluate if any of the following:
Symptomatic treatment 
Antibiotic treatment 
Treatment is focused on symptomatic management. Antibiotics, cough and cold medications, bronchodilators, and steroids have no proven efficacy in uncomplicated acute bronchitis.
We list the most important complications. The selection is not exhaustive.
Diagnosis and treatment of acute bronchitis.
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