Objective: Despite its decline in developed countries, bronchiectasis appeared to be a common diagnosis in Auckland, New Zealand children. The aims of this study were: to document the number of children in Auckland with bronchiectasis, their severity, clinical characteristics and possible aetiologies; to assess whether there was a relationship between ethnicity and poverty; and to estimate a crude bronchiectasis prevalence rate for New Zealand.
Methods: A retrospective review of the case histories of all children attending a tertiary children's hospital in Auckland with bronchiectasis diagnosed by high-resolution chest computed tomography (CT) scan, during the period 1998-2000 was undertaken. Data collected included patient demographics, number of hospitalizations pre- and post-diagnosis, lung function tests, radiology and investigations. The New Zealand deprivation 1996 index was applied to the data to obtain a measure of socio-economic status.
Results: Bronchiectasis was found to be common, with an estimated prevalence of approximately one in 6000 in the Auckland paediatric population. It was disproportionately more common in the Pacific Island and Maori children. In Pacific Island children, bronchiectasis not caused by cystic fibrosis was nearly twice as common in the general population than cystic fibrosis. Socio-economic deprivation and low immunization rates may be significant contributing factors. The bronchiectasis seen was extensive. Ninety-three percent had bilateral disease and 64% had involvement of four or more lobes on chest CT scan. A wide range of comorbidities and underlying aetiologies were evident.
Conclusions: Paediatric bronchiectasis in Auckland, New Zealand, is common but underresourced. Only the most severe cases are being recognized, providing a significant challenge for paediatric health professionals.