Purpose: Bronchiectasis in children is still one of the most common causes of childhood mortality in developing countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiological characteristics, clinical features, underlying etiologic factors, and distinct change in the management of patients with bronchiectasis at Asan Medical Center Children's Hospital of Seoul.
Methods: A retrospective study of children diagnosed with bronchiectasis was conducted between January 1999 and December 2008. All patients underwent a comprehensive examination to identify etiologic factors. Data analysis in terms of age at onset, initial presenting symptoms, underlying etiology, distinct change in treatment, distribution of pulmonary involvement on computed tomography (CT), and causative microbiological flora triggering secondary infections was performed.
Results: The median age at the time of the diagnosis of bronchiectasis was 7.6 years (range, 2 months to 18 years). Persistent coughing was the most common symptom. The underlying etiologies identified in 79 patients (85.8%) included bronchiolitis obliterans (32.6%), childhood respiratory infection (20.6%), interstitial lung disease (17.3%), immunodeficiency (8.6%), and primary ciliary dyskinesia (4.3%). In 53 children (67%), the identified cause led to a distinct and individualized change in management. The distribution of CT abnormalities had no correlation with the underlying cause of bronchiectasis.
Conclusions: Selected Korean children with bronchiectasis were reviewed to identify diverse underlying etiologies. All children with bronchiectasis should be comprehensively investigated because identifying underlying causes may have a major impact on their management and prognosis.
Keywords: Bronchiectasis; bronchiolitis obliterans; child; etiology; infection.