Background: The prevalence of bronchiectasis has decreased significantly over recent decades. We reviewed the morbidity, mortality, and outcome of surgical treatment for pulmonary bronchiectasis in the modern era of antibiotic therapy.
Methods: From January 1976 through January 1993, 134 patients (55 male and 79 female patients) underwent pulmonary resection for bronchiectasis. The mean age was 48.4 years (range, 4 to 89 years). The indication for operation was failure of medical therapy in 85 patients (63.4%), hemoptysis in 26 (19.4%), lung abscess in 12 (9.0%), and a nondiagnostic mass in 11 (8.2%). Mean duration of symptoms was 6 years (range, 1 to 60 years) and included a productive cough in 104 patients, fetid sputum in 91, recurrent infections in 81, and hemoptysis in 56. Thirteen patients (9.7%) had no prior symptoms and presented with either hemoptysis, lung abscess, or unresolved pneumonia. The disease was bilateral in 26 patients (19.4%) and mainly confined to the lower lobe in 75 (56.0%). The mean number of segments involved was 4.4 (range, one to 14 segments). Surgical treatment included lobectomy in 86 patients (64.2%), pneumonectomy in 21 (15.7%), wedge resection or segmentectomy in 18 (13.4%), and a combination of these approaches in 9 (6.7%). Disease was considered completely resected in 108 patients (80.6%).
Results: The operative mortality rate was 2.2% and the morbidity rate was 24.6%. The mean follow-up in 103 patients was 6 years (range, 1 to 16 years). Overall, 61 patients (59.2%) were asymptomatic after operation. Symptoms were improved in 30 patients (29.1%) and unchanged in 12 (11.7%). Complete resection resulted in a significantly better result than incomplete resection (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Pulmonary resection for bronchiectasis can be done with low mortality and morbidity. When possible, complete resection should be performed.