57. Bronchiectasis (foreign body in the bronchus)

Page created on December 3, 2018. Last updated on January 17, 2019 at 16:42

Organ: Lung


A foreign body (a bean) can be seen in the middle of the preparation. On the cut surface of the parenchyme can we see that the bronchial tree is dilated, which appears as large holes (cross-sections of the bronchial tree). Around the bronchial tree, and therefore around these holes, can we see yellowish purulent inflammation.

Diagnosis: Bronchiectasis


  • Inflammation of the airways
  • Bronchial tumor
  • Foreign body aspiration


The name “corpus alienum bronchi” means “foreign body in the bronchi”. The foreign body in this case is a bean. The preparation was taken from a child who had aspirated a whole bean.

The foreign body aspiration caused bronchiectasis, the condition where the airways are progressively destroyed and dilatated. This dilatation is very visible on this preparation as large holes on the cut surface of the parenchyme.

Bronchiectasis often comes with acute purulent inflammation, which is the yellowish thing that can be seen around the bronchial tree.

If you’ve ever dissected a lung during autopsy, you’ve opened the bronchial tree with scissors (if you haven’t tried, you should!). Normally, you can only open 2/3 of the length of the bronchial tree because the last third has such a small lumen that the scissors can’t get into them. A very characteristic finding for bronchiectasis in autopsy is that you can open the whole length of the bronchial tree, because the whole tree is so dilated that the scissors can get into the lumen of even small bronchioles.

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