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Respiratory Therapist/MAC lung infection


Hello. I was diagnosed with MAC lung infection about 3 years ago. I hope you know what it is. Apparently many millions of people have this with no cure for it anywhere. My own internist knows of this disease quite well and all of the other doctors I see have seen this quite often. The therapies are slim and do not cure this disease. It is chronic. I have been to two pulmiologists with all the tests they can do. Basically for my age 81 I am well. The last doctor I saw an infectious disease specialist was quite knowledgeable and for two years I took a cocktail of antibiotics. He found it is in the very tiny lower veins of my lungs very hard to get to. I am not cutting my lungs up. I am healthy I don't cough blood or have lost weight. My question is I have a chronic cough due to the mucus which is in my chest.  I don't expect to cure the MAC but am wondering if I can take something to dry up the mucus. My doctor gave me an inhaler of some kind and the first puff I got heart palpations. I was wondering if I can do an outpatient procedure with a respiratory therapist to help dry this up. Not having the mucus would make it easier to live with. I could try another inhaler but am not sure which one is more safe.  If you have any input I would so appreciate it. Thanks Theresa

Hello Theresa,

I will be honest, I do not have an intinate knowledge of MAC Pneumonia, but what I do recall is that it is a unique brand of pneumonia caused by Tuberculosis (TB). Did you have TB at some point in your life?  In the research I performed the past couple days, I found a specific article that discusses a successful treatment for that specific bacteria. Please copy and paste this web site into your web site address line:

I hope you will find it very useful. It appears the combination of rifampicin, ethambutol, and clarithromycin CAN be helpful in treating this condition. As for the actual secretions, some docotrs prescribe an old-school treatment of nebulized/inhaled Atropine as a drying agent to dry up the overproduction of sputum. I hope this info helps, but please do touch base with me if I can be of any more help.

Best of health to you!

Larry, RRT  

Respiratory Therapist

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators (Respirators) - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness - Prolotherapy (from a patient's perspective) I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

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Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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