Purpose: To assess bronchiectasis depicted with computed tomography (CT) in patients with alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency and to examine associated clinical correlates.
Materials and methods: CT scans in 14 patients with alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency were evaluated by two thoracic radiologists for the presence and extent of bronchiectasis and emphysema. The findings were correlated with numeric infection scores on the basis of symptoms of sputum production and respiratory infection and with a history of conditions that may predispose to development of bronchiectasis.
Results: Six (43%) of 14 patients had CT evidence of bronchiectasis. Patients with bronchiectasis had significantly higher infection scores than did patients without bronchiectasis (P < .005). Two patients had diffuse cystic bronchiectasis, and neither reported a history of illness that may have predisposed them to this condition.
Conclusion: Bronchiectasis may be more common in patients with alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency than has been previously recognized. The diagnosis of alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency should be considered in patients with emphysema and diffuse cystic bronchiectasis.