A process with dilated, distorted and thick walled medium size bronchi.

Increased incidence and prevalence.

Higher prevalence in women, and with increasing age.

Estimated prevalence 2019 701 cases/100,000.

Estimated 1.5% of women and 1 % of men have diagnosed bronchiectasis.

Many patients with bronchiectasis have never smoked.

These bronchi are chronically inflamed and infected.

Characterized by cough and sputum production in the presence of abnormal thickening and dilation of the bronchial wall visible on lung imaging.

Cough can be dry to minimally productive to debilitating, with large volumes of purulent sputum.

Some patients have chest pain and shortness of breath.

Intermittent hemoptysis is not common.

A chronic inflammatory disease, defined as a permanent dilatation of the bronchi.

In some cases bronchiectasis is the only radiographic finding associated with few or no symptoms or exacerbations.

Major symptom is chronic sputum production.

Patients characteristically have a daily cough and sputum production and suffer with frequent exacerbations.

Exacerbations are associated with a poor quality of life, decreased lung function, and increased mortality.

Airways have injury and subsequent loss of integrity of muscle, elastic tissue, and sometime bronchial cartilage.

Dilated bronchi increases susceptibility of bacterial infection with chronic irritation and inflammation.

Radiographically associated with pathologic dilatation and mucosal thickening of small and medium sized bronchial tubes.

Structural abnormalities in the bronchial wall causes impaired clearance of lower airways resulting in chronic bacterial infection and inflammation.

Inflammation  is dominated by neutrophils that when activated, released neutrophil serine proteases, including neutrophil elastase, believed to be essential to the pathophysiology of bronchiectasis.
It is postulated that elevated levels of neutrophil elastase, proteinase 3 and cathepsin G overwhelm natural Inhibitors, such as alpha-1 anti-trypsin and secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor, which alters the environment that increases the risk of infection.
Higher levels of neutrophil elastase in sputum is associated with a higher bronchiectasis score, along with worse dyspnea scores, increased lung function abnormalities and more extensive radiologic findings.
The neutrophil the last level increases with exacerbations and is a biomarker for disease activity and targets for treatment.
 Neutrophil serine proteases are activated during neutrophil maturation in the bone marrow by dipeptidyl peptidase 1 (DPP-1).
There are multiple inciting factors that lead to the development of bronchiectasis and it’s associated with a cycle of remodeling in dilatation of the airways.

The process above is referred to as a vicious circle and if progressive may lead to respiratory insufficiency and need for lung transplantation or ultimately death.

An initial insult leads to airway dysfunction, followed by an inflammatory response and structural disease and infection, which is a progressive process over time and it overcomes local and systemic coast protective factors.

Impaired mucociliary clearance causes mucus retention, airway distortion, and vulnerability to infection.

May be a primary disease, or can complicate all the pulmonary diseases including asthma and COPD.

May exist with congenital and hereditary diseases including cystic fibrosis, primary ciliary dyskinesia, and alpha one antitrypsin deficiency.

May be seen with autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis Sjogren syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

May develop in patients with immune deficiency syndromes including variable immuno deficiency and human immunovirus deficiency virus infection, seen in conjunction with chronic rhinosinusitis, gastrointestinal reflux, dysphagia, and aspiration syndromes.

All patients should be assessed for current coexisting illness and history of predisposing disorders including: COPD, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux or aspiration, rheumatologic diseases and inflammatory bowel diseases.

A complete CBC with differential and immunoglobulin levels are required.

If immunoglobulin levels are reduced antibody response to vaccinations can be assessed.

Testing for cystic fibrosis especially in early onset bronchiectasis and those with associated disorders such as male infertility, malabsorption or pancreatitis

The course of the process is variable and may be associated with infectious exacerbations with increased cough, hemoptysis, and dyspnea.

Ciiliary disorders and alpha one antitrypsin deficiency are considerations for diagnosis.

Exacerbations are associated with impaired quality of life.

Of patients with bronchiectasis 68% had a history of pneumonia, 20% had COPD, 29% had a diagnosis of asthma, 47% had gastroesophageal reflux disease, 8% of history of rheumatologic disease, 3% inflammatory bowel disease, 5% an immuno deficiency disease, and 3% had primary ciliary dyskinesia.

Early recognition of the disease may improve quality of life and overall prognosis.

Improvements in pullmonary function may eventually affect survival, as impaired lung function is an independent risk factor for mortality in patients with bronchiectasis.

Differential diagnosis includes multiple other primary pulmonary disorders, but it is distinguished by its productive cough and pattern of exacerbations.

Diagnosis often made with considerations of chronic bronchitis, chronic rhinosinusitis and other causes of chronic cough with the patient receiving multiple courses of  antibiotics  and inhaled steroids and bronchodilators before correct diagnosis.

The patient must have a cough that produces sputum on most days of the week, a history of exacerbations, and at least one of the following findings on high resolution CT: a ratio of the inner or outer airway diameter to the artery diameter of 1.0 or more, lack of tapering of the airways, and the presence of radio graphically visible airways in the perimeter.

Other CT findings include mucus plugging, treein bud nodularity, and waxing and waning pattern to the nodules.

Chest imaging, specifically CT chest scans are required to make the diagnosis.

Bronchiectasis distinct features is this tendency towards exacerbations with deterioration in cough and sputum volume for at least 48 hours, with increase in sputum purulence, breathlessness or exercise intolerance, fatigue or malaise, or hemoptysis.

Frequent exacerbators have a higher five-year mortality rate.

All patients with bronchiectasis should have respiratory secretion cultures at the time of diagnosis and at regular intervals for surveillance, and ideally at the time of exacerbations.

The presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a marker for severity of disease: it is consistently associated with increase mortality, hospitalizations, number of exacerbations, worst quality of life, deterioration in pulmonary function, and radiographic findings.

The presence of staphylococcus infection has less effect on the severity of disease than pseudomonas.

Approximately 1/3 of patients with sputum cultures and bronchiectasis are positive for P. aeruginosa and Staph aureus was detected in 12% of patients and Haemophilus influenza in 8%, in a bronchiectasis research registry.

Other organism seen at less of frequency include: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Stenotrophomonas malthilia, Klebsiella pneumonia, Moraxella catarrhalis, E. coli, and achromobacter species.

Norcardis species but sometimes isolated from respiratory cultures from patients with bronchiectasis,but its clinical significance is uncertain.

Fungal cultures most commonly aspergillus and can do the species or not always pathogenic findings in patients with bronchiectasis.

Nontuberculous mycobacterial infections are common with bronchiectasis, and speculation exists that it may be a cause of agent in the development of bronchiectasis.

Viral infections may play a role in bronchiectasis exacerbations.

In a study comparing Azithromycin 250 mg daily or placebo for 12 months in patients with bronchiectasis resulted in a better quality of life, and lower rate of infectious exacerbations (BAT. Randomized Controlled Trial, Altenburg J et al).

In the EMBRACE trial the reduction in exacerbations with six months of macrolide treatment was also significant.

Brensocatib an oral, selective. competitive and reversible inhibitor of DPP-1 inhibits neutrophils serine protease activity, and and in a phase 2 randomized controlled trial resulted in improvement in bronchiectasis clinical symptoms in a 24 week trial.

Goals of treatment include: symptom reduction and improvement in quality of life, preservation of lung function, and reduction in morbidity and mortality.

Treatment of the underlying disorders to prevent disease progression and potentially reverse bronchiectasis is required for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, immunoglobulin deficiencies, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Management includes airway clearance therapies including nonpharmacologic strategies, mucoactive treatments, pulmonary rehabilitation and exercise aimed to mobilize secretions to reduce cough and dyspnea and prevent further the airway damage.

Non-pharmacological airway clearance options include, breathing techniques, photogenic drainage involving controlling the speed and depth of exhalation to mobilize secretions, slow exhalation with the glottis open in the lateral decubitus position, the use of positive expiratory pressure isolating devices, and high frequency chest wall oscillation.

Nebulized hypertonic saline is a mucoactive treatment that is shown benefits in bronchiectasis.

Routine use of inhaled oral glucocorticoids may promote airway infections.

Routine vaccinations and nutritional counseling are recommended for all patients.

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