Objective: The purpose of this descriptive review was to delineate the current knowledge of bronchiectasis in terms of prevalence, burden of disease, pathophysiology, and management.
Data sources: The National Library of Medicines MEDLINE and PubMed database (2005-2013) were used to conduct a search using the keyword term "bronchiectasis". The references for articles being considered for inclusion were searched from additional sources such as conference proceedings.
Study selection: Criteria for inclusion of articles included data outlining epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and evidence-based guidelines for management of bronchiectasis. In assessing the quality of the articles, factors such as size of the population studied, clinical setting of the study, and whether or not the studies were prospective or retrospective were taken into consideration. Review articles were also included in our data collection. RESULTS Despite many advances in modern medicine, bronchiectasis still remains a significant public health problem in developed countries and the developing world. It carries a significant burden worldwide in terms of morbidity and mortality, as well as financially to the affected population. In addition, bronchiectasis may associate with chronic airflow obstruction, regardless of smoking status.
Conclusions: Bronchiectasis is a debilitating illness responsible for significant morbidity with a poor health-related quality of life. The condition has a substantial socioeconomic cost because both primary and secondary healthcare resources are frequently used and periods of sick leave are common.