Progress in Diagnosing Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia: The North American Perspective

Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 Jul 16;11(7):1278. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics11071278.


Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) is a rare, under-recognized disease that affects respiratory ciliary function, resulting in chronic oto-sino-pulmonary disease. The PCD clinical phenotype overlaps with other common respiratory conditions and no single diagnostic test detects all forms of PCD. In 2018, PCD experts collaborated with the American Thoracic Society (ATS) to create a clinical diagnostic guideline for patients across North America, specifically considering the local resources and limitations for PCD diagnosis in the United States and Canada. Nasal nitric oxide (nNO) testing is recommended for first-line testing in patients ≥5 years old with a compatible clinical phenotype; however, all low nNO values require confirmation with genetic testing or ciliary electron micrograph (EM) analysis. Furthermore, these guidelines recognize that not all North American patients have access to nNO testing and isolated genetic testing is appropriate in cases with strong clinical PCD phenotypes. For unresolved diagnostic cases, referral to a PCD Foundation accredited center is recommended. The purpose of this narrative review is to provide insight on the North American PCD diagnostic process, to enhance the understanding of and adherence to current guidelines, and to promote collaboration with diagnostic pathways used outside of North America.

Keywords: North America; PCD; diagnostic guidelines; primary ciliary dyskinesia.

Publication types

  • Review