Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) in children

Causes and symptoms of PCD

PCD is an inherited condition caused by problems with faulty genes. Over 25 different genes that cause PCD have been identified.  

What are the signs?

Most people with PCD have symptoms from birth or early infancy. Three quarters of children with PCD have trouble breathing and need oxygen for days or weeks after they are born.

Other signs of PCD are caused by the infection and swelling in their airway and ears. Your child might have:

  • a constant blocked or runny nose
  • a constant wet cough, even when well
  • hearing problems  – this affects half of all children with PCD
  • wheezing or shortness of breath
  • clubbing – swelling in the ends of the fingers

Is there any way to prevent it?

Early treatment can prevent PCD causing permanent lung damage. 

There is a lot of research into genetic testing for PCD. At the moment, genetic testing will only identify some forms of PCD.

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Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.