To recognise the clinical and radiological presentation of the spectrum of diseases associated with bronchiectasis.
To understand variation in the aetiology, microbiology and burden of bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis across different global healthcare systems.
Bronchiectasis is the term used to refer to dilatation of the bronchi that is usually permanent and is associated with a clinical syndrome of cough, sputum production and recurrent respiratory infections. It can be caused by a range of inherited and acquired disorders, or may be idiopathic in nature. The most well recognised inherited disorder in Western countries is cystic fibrosis (CF), an autosomal recessive condition that leads to progressive bronchiectasis, bacterial infection and premature mortality. Both bronchiectasis due to CF and bronchiectasis due to other conditions are placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems internationally. Treatments for CF are becoming more effective leading to more adult patients with complex healthcare needs. Bronchiectasis not due to CF is becoming increasingly recognised, particularly in the elderly population. Recognition is important and can lead to identification of the underlying cause, appropriate treatment and improved quality of life. The disease is highly diverse in its presentation, requiring all respiratory physicians to have knowledge of the different “bronchiectasis syndromes”. The most common aetiologies and presenting syndromes vary depending on geography, with nontuberculous mycobacterial disease predominating in some parts of North America, post-infectious and idiopathic disease predominating in Western Europe, and post-tuberculosis bronchiectasis dominating in South Asia and Eastern Europe. Ongoing global collaborative studies will greatly advance our understanding of the international impact of bronchiectasis and CF.