The outcome in adult bronchiectasis has not been well described; in particular there has been a lack of long-term prospective studies. Therefore a follow-up study was performed to assess outcome in bronchiectasis in a cohort of adult patients. One hundred-and-one sequential adults, 33 male and 68 female; age 54 +/- 14 years (mean +/- SD) with bronchiectasis had a clinical assessment and spirometry performed. All were non-smokers and 84 were classified as having idiopathic disease. Patients were commenced on a standardized treatment regime and followed up for a minimum period of 2 years. On their last review when patients were clinically stable, a repeat clinical assessment and spirometry was performed and compared with the initial review. The primary endpoints measured were symptoms and FEV1. Subjects were followed up for 8.0 +/- 4.9 years. Clinical review showed that the patients had persistent symptoms that, in the case of dyspnea and sputum volume, were worse on follow-up. Spirometry showed a significant decline in FEV1 over the follow-up period with an average loss of 49 ml per year. This study showed in this group of predominantly female adult patients with bronchiectasis followed up for 8 years, patients had persistent symptoms and an excess loss in FEV1.