Objective: The relationship between systemic inflammation and different measures of bronchiectasis severity has not been described. The objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between plasma concentrations of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), as a marker of systemic inflammation, and some commonly used criteria for quantifying bronchiectasis severity in clinically stable patients whose disease was not caused by cystic fibrosis.
Patients and methods: Sixty-eight clinically stable patients with bronchiectasis and 19 age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects were included in the study. Data on disease history, symptoms, severity, functional variables, sputum volume, and microbiological cultures, laboratory findings, and other indicators of disease course were collected. Plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha were measured using high-resolution enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay.
Results: Plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha were higher in patients than controls (8.28 vs 5.67 pg/mL; P=.001). This observation correlated with other markers of systemic inflammation such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (r=0.42; P=.001), C-reactive protein (rho=0.45; P=.001), and percentage of peripheral blood neutrophils (rho=0.45; P=.001). Patients with high plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha (>8.1 pg/dL) had more severe disease (5.19 vs 3.21; P=.001), were more likely to have respiratory failure (37.5% vs 8.3%; P=.003), and a higher rate of Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonization (34.3% vs 8.3%; P=.008).
Conclusions: High plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha were associated with several criteria usually used to assess severity of bronchiectasis in clinically stable patients with disease not caused by cystic fibrosis.