Background: Bronchiectasis is frequently associated (up to 30%) with chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases and leads to lower respiratory tract infections. Data are lacking on the risk of lower respiratory tract infections in patients treated with biologic agents.
Methods: Monocenter, retrospective systematic study of all patients with a chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease and concomitant bronchiectasis, seen between 2000 and 2009. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to evidence predictive factors of the number of infectious respiratory events.
Results: 47 patients were included (mean age 64.1±9.1 years, 33 (70.2%) women), with a mean follow-up per patient of 4.3±3.1 years. Rheumatoid arthritis was the main rheumatic disease (90.1%). The mean number of infectious events was 0.8±1.0 event per patient-year. The factors predicting infections were the type of treatment (biologic vs. non biologic disease-modifying treatments), with an odds ratio of 8.7 (95% confidence interval: 1.7-43.4) and sputum colonization by any bacteria (odds ratio 7.4, 2.0-26.8). In multivariate analysis, both factors were independently predictive of infections.
Conclusion: Lower respiratory tract infectious events are frequent among patients receiving biologics for chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease associated with bronchiectasis. Biologic treatment and pre-existing sputum colonization are independent risk factors of infection occurrence.