[Bronchiectasis imaging]

Rev Pneumol Clin. 2018 Oct;74(5):299-314. doi: 10.1016/j.pneumo.2018.09.009. Epub 2018 Oct 19.
[Article in French]


Bronchiectasis are defined as an irreversible focal or diffuse dilatation of the bronchi and can be associated with significant morbidity. The prevalence is currently increasing, probably due to an increased use of thoracic computed tomography (CT). Indeed, the diagnosis relies on imaging and chest CT is the gold standard technique. The main diagnosis criterion is an increased bronchial diameter as compared to that of the companion artery. However, false positives are possible when the artery diameter is decreased, which is called pseudo-bronchiectasis. Other features such as the lack of bronchial tapering, and visibility of bronchi within 1cm of the pleural surface are also diagnostic criteria, and other CT features of bronchial disease are commonly seen. Thoracic imaging also allows severity assessment and long-term monitoring of structural abnormalities. The distribution pattern and the presence of associated findings on chest CT help identifying specific causes of bronchiectasis. Lung MRI and ultra-low dose CT and are promising imaging modalities that may play a role in the future. The objectives of this review are to describe imaging features for the diagnosis and severity assessment of bronchiectasis, to review findings suggesting the cause of bronchiectasis, and to present the new developments in bronchiectasis imaging.

Keywords: Bronchiectasis; Computed tomography; Dilatation des bronches; Imagerie; Imagerie par résonance magnétique; Imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging; Scanner.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiectasis / diagnosis*
  • Bronchiectasis / etiology
  • Bronchiectasis / therapy
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Respiratory System*
  • Humans
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed