Phenotyping adults with non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: a prospective observational cohort study

Respir Med. 2013 Jul;107(7):1001-7. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.04.013. Epub 2013 May 11.


Background: Bronchiectasis is the outcome of a number of different airway insults. Very few studies have characterised the aetiology and utility of a dedicated screening proforma in adult patients attending a general bronchiectasis clinic.

Methods: A prospective observational study of 189 bronchiectasis patients attending two centres in the North East of England over a two-year period was performed.

Results: The aetiology of bronchiectasis was identified in 107/189(57%) patients. Idiopathic bronchiectasis (IB) represented the largest subgroup (43%). Post-infection bronchiectasis (PIB) constituted the largest proportion (24%) of known causes. Mean age (SD) at diagnosis was 54(20) years with a mean age at symptom onset of 37(24) years, accounting for a diagnostic delay of 17 years. Age of symptom onset was significantly younger in patients with PIB compared to IB (p < 0.0001) and in Pseudomonas sputum positive patients (p = 0.007). Screening for APBA and total immunoglobulin deficiency identified 9 (5%) patients who then had tailored treatment. Routine screening for other aetiologies was deemed unnecessary.

Conclusion: IB and PIB accounted for two thirds of cases of bronchiectasis in a general population. We recommend routine screening for ABPA and total immunoglobulin deficiency but not for other rarer aetiologies.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bronchiectasis / diagnosis*
  • Bronchiectasis / etiology
  • Bronchiectasis / immunology
  • Bronchiectasis / therapy
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Delayed Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / blood
  • Immunoglobulins / deficiency
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / complications
  • Vital Capacity / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Immunoglobulins