Bronchiectasis in children: diagnosis and treatment

Lancet. 2018 Sep 8;392(10150):866-879. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31554-X.


Bronchiectasis is conventionally defined as irreversible dilatation of the bronchial tree. Bronchiectasis unrelated to cystic fibrosis is an increasingly appreciated cause of chronic respiratory-related morbidity worldwide. Few randomised controlled trials provide high-level evidence for management strategies to treat the children affected by bronchiectasis. However, both decades-old and more recent studies using technological advances support the notion that prompt diagnosis and optimal management of paediatric bronchiectasis is particularly important in early childhood. Although considered to be of a non-reversible nature, mild bronchiectasis determined by radiography might be reversible at any age if treated early, and the lung function decline associated with disease progression could then be halted. Although some management strategies are extrapolated from cystic fibrosis or adult-based studies, or both, non-cystic fibrosis paediatric-specific data to help diagnose and manage these children still need to be generated. We present current knowledge and an updated definition of bronchiectasis, and review controversies relating to the management of children with bronchiectasis, including applying the concept of so-called treatable traits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Management
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bronchiectasis / diagnosis*
  • Bronchiectasis / etiology
  • Bronchiectasis / therapy*
  • Child
  • Cough / etiology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents