Intern Med J. 2006 Nov;36(11):729-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2006.01219.x.


Bronchiectasis is generally classified into cystic fibrosis and non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. This review article describes non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis in adults. Bronchiectasis can be considered a heterogeneous condition characterized by irreversible airway dilatation with chronic bronchial infection/inflammation. It remains a common condition and is a major cause of respiratory morbidity. Many factors are associated with bronchiectasis, but most commonly patients will have idiopathic disease. Important clinical findings include chronic productive cough, rhinosinusitis, fatigue and bi-basal crackles. Patients have usually had symptoms for many years. Diagnosis is confirmed by high-resolution computed tomography scanning using standardized criteria. Spirometry shows moderate airflow obstruction and there is a high prevalence of bronchial hyperreactivity. The most common pathogens are non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. There may be considerable overlap with other chronic airway diseases. Treatment regimens are still not well defined. Patients tend to have ongoing symptoms and decline in respiratory function despite treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiectasis* / diagnosis
  • Bronchiectasis* / etiology
  • Bronchiectasis* / physiopathology
  • Bronchiectasis* / therapy
  • Humans