Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD): Treatments

How is primary ciliary dyskinesia treated?

Dr. Friedlnader discusses PCD with a patient

Right now, there is no way to fix faulty cilia, so treatments address the symptoms of PCD and work to improve patients’ quality of life. One of the primary goals of treatment is to induce coughing, which helps the body rid itself of bacteria and reduces infections and illnesses.

Chest physiotherapy is one technique frequently used to loosen mucus in the lungs so it can be coughed up. This therapy includes pounding a patient’s chest several times with hands or a device while they sit or lie down with their head down, using gravity to help drain mucus from their lungs. As children with PCD get older, there are a number of mechanical mucus clearance devices and technologies that may tried.

Aerobic exercise, which makes a patient breathe harder, can also help loosen mucus so it can be coughed up. You should discuss exercise plans with your child’s doctor to make sure they are safe and appropriate for the patient.

Some medications may also be used to address PCD symptoms. Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat lung infections that result from PCD. 

Doctors often recommend periodic chest x-rays, pulmonary function tests and respiratory cultures to monitor the progress of PCD and determine if any changes are needed in the patient’s current treatment plan.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for your child’s primary ciliary dyskinesia?

Our specialists are on the forefront of evaluating new methods of diagnostic testing and new treatment approaches for patients with PCD. At Children’s Colorado, we are researching the disease to better understand the natural history of PCD and to plan for clinical trials for new treatment options.

In our clinics, we believe a multidisciplinary approach to condition management is the best way to improve quality of life for our young patients. In addition to Children's Colorado's emergency and inpatient services, being housed with a variety of pediatric subspecialists contributes significantly to our ability to provide a full-spectrum of care.

Extensive diagnostic testing is available for both infants and older children, and an experienced staff of doctors, nurses, dieticians, social workers, child life therapists and therapists allows families to benefit from the team approach to the evaluation and management of patients with asthma, breathing and lung conditions. Our collaborative approach also incorporates and facilitates family involvement and involves close collaboration with your primary healthcare provider.