Systemic comorbidities in bronchiectasis

Chron Respir Dis. 2012;9(4):231-8. doi: 10.1177/1479972312459973.


Bronchiectasis is a chronic inflammatory lung disease, which has similarities to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Comorbidities of COPD include increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease, loss of bone mineral density (BMD) and loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, all linked to systemic inflammation. The potential for such comorbidities has not been explored in bronchiectasis. We hypothesised that patients with bronchiectasis would have similar increased comorbidities. A total of 20 patients with noncystic fibrosis bronchiectasis were compared to 20 controls similar in age, gender and smoking exposure. Assessments included aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV; (a measure of arterial stiffness and an independent predictor of CV risk), blood pressure (BP) as well as levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), albumin, fasting glucose and lipids. Body composition (fat free mass index (FFMI)), BMD, the 6-min walk distance (6MWD) and self-reported physical activity were also determined. Patients with bronchiectasis had increased aortic PWV, 10.5 (3.0) m/second, when compared with controls, 8.8 (1.6) m/second (p < 0.05), despite similar central and peripheral BP and lipid profile. Patients also had increased IL-6 and reduced albumin and glucose. Although mean body mass index, FFMI and BMD were similar in patients and controls, only 20% of patients had a healthy BMD compared with 50% of controls. Patients had reduced 6MWD and reported less physical activity (p < 0.05). Patients with bronchiectasis had increased arterial stiffness (an indicator of increased CV risk), increased inflammation, reduced exercise capacity and bone thinning. These additional comorbidities require further evaluation for their management in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aorta / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density
  • Bronchiectasis / complications*
  • Bronchiectasis / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Walking


  • Lipids