Many patients with bronchiectasis have diffuse airways obstruction and this may be the dominant symptom. This study was performed to assess whether the severity of airway obstruction in these patients is related to duration of bronchiectatic symptoms or to the extent of bronchiectasis demonstrated by computed tomography (CT). Twenty-six patients were studied. The severity of airflow obstruction was measured by standard physiological testing and the extent of bronchiectasis demonstrated by CT was assessed using a scoring system. Correlation was measured by Kendall's rank correlation coefficient. A highly significant correlation between FEV1 and CT score was demonstrated and a significant correlation was also observed between FEV1 and duration of symptoms. A weak correlation was present between CT score and symptom duration.