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.
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