[Diagnosis and treatment of bronchiectasis. Spanish Society of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery]

Arch Bronconeumol. 2008 Nov;44(11):629-40. doi: 10.1157/13128330.
[Article in Spanish]


Bronchiectasis is the end result of several different diseases that share principles of management. The clinical course usually involves chronic bronchial infection and inflammation, which are associated with progression. The cause of bronchiectasis should always be investigated, particularly when it can be treated. We recommend evaluating etiology, symptoms, bronchial colonization and infection, respiratory function, inflammation, structural damage, nutritional status, and quality of life in order to assess severity and to monitor clinical course. Care should be supervised by specialized units, at least in cases of chronic bronchial infection, recurrent exacerbations, or when there is a cause that is likely to respond to treatment. Improving symptoms and halting progression are the goals of management, which is based on treatment of the underlying cause and of acute or chronic infections and on the drainage of secretions. Complications that arise must also be treated. Antibiotic prescription is guided by how well infection is being controlled, and this is indicated by the color of sputum and a reduction in the number of exacerbations. We recommend inhaled antibiotics in cases of chronic bronchial infection that does not respond to oral antibiotics, when these cause side effects, or when the cause is Pseudomonas species or other bacteria resistant to oral antibiotics. Inhaled administration is also advisable to treat initial colonization by Pseudomonas species.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Airway Obstruction / complications
  • Algorithms
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bronchiectasis / classification
  • Bronchiectasis / diagnosis*
  • Bronchiectasis / etiology
  • Bronchiectasis / rehabilitation
  • Bronchiectasis / therapy*
  • Bronchitis / complications
  • Bronchitis / diagnosis
  • Bronchitis / drug therapy
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Expectorants / therapeutic use
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Expectorants