Management of bronchiectasis and chronic suppurative lung disease in indigenous children and adults from rural and remote Australian communities

Med J Aust. 2008 Oct 6;189(7):386-93. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb02085.x.


1) Consensus recommendations for managing bronchiectasis in Indigenous children and adults living in rural and remote regions were developed during a multidisciplinary workshop and were based on available systematic reviews. 2) Successful diagnosis, management and prevention of bronchiectasis in Indigenous Australians requires access to comprehensive health care services, as well as improved housing, education and employment and reduced poverty levels. 3) Diagnosis of bronchiectasis requires a chest high-resolution computed tomography scan. Children who have bronchiectasis symptoms but non-diagnostic scans are described as having chronic suppurative lung disease (CSLD), rather than bronchiectasis. Untreated CSLD may progress to bronchiectasis. 4) Chronic wet cough (> 4 weeks) or recurrent wet cough (> 2 episodes/year) are important but often under-reported symptoms. Bronchiectasis is suspected when chronic cough is excessively prolonged (> 12 weeks) or if a chest radiographic abnormality persists despite appropriate therapy. 5) Intensive treatment aims to improve symptom control and quality of life while preserving lung function and reducing acute exacerbation frequency. 6) Antibiotics should be prescribed for acute infective episodes according to culture results of respiratory secretions, local susceptibility patterns and clinical severity. Patients not responding promptly to oral antibiotics should be hospitalised for more intensive treatment. 7) Ongoing care requires regular primary health care and specialist review, including monitoring for complications and comorbidities. Corticosteroids, bronchodilators and mucoactive agents may be used in individual cases, but routine use is not recommended. Physiotherapy and exercise should be encouraged, nutrition optimised, environmental pollutants (including tobacco smoke) avoided, and immunisations maintained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Australia / ethnology
  • Bronchiectasis / complications
  • Bronchiectasis / diagnosis*
  • Bronchiectasis / drug therapy
  • Bronchiectasis / ethnology
  • Bronchiectasis / therapy*
  • Bronchitis, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Bronchitis, Chronic / therapy
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cough / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Poverty
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population*
  • Suppuration / diagnosis
  • Suppuration / therapy


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Glucocorticoids