Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) in children

What is PCD?

Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a rare, genetic, long-term condition that children are born with, which they will have all their lives. 

Your child’s airways contain glands that produce a small amount of mucus. Mucus helps trap dust and germs.  Tiny hairs called cilia on the surface of cells in our lungs, nose and ear move it away.

If your child has PCD, the cilia don’t work properly. This leads to mucus building up. Mucus build up causes swelling of the airways and infection in both the airways and ears.

Half of people with PCD have situs inversus. This means the organs in their chest and tummy are on the opposite side of the body from usual. It can also cause hearing problems and infertility.

The sooner your child is diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated to prevent or delay lung damage and help improve the chance of a normal life span.

For more information and support if your child has PCD, contact the PCD Family Support Group

If you have concerns or need advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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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.