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Background: Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is associated with frequent exacerbations and poor outcomes in chronic respiratory disease but remains underdiagnosed. The role of fungal sensitization in bronchiectasis-COPD overlap (BCO) is unknown.
Research Question: What is the occurrence and clinical relevance of Aspergillus sensitization and ABPA in BCO when compared to individuals with COPD or bronchiectasis without overlap?
Study Design: Prospective, observational and cross-sectional.
Methods: We prospectively recruited n=280 patients during periods of clinical stability with bronchiectasis (n=183), COPD (n=50) and BCO (n=47) from six hospitals across three countries (Singapore, Malaysia, and Scotland). We assessed sensitization responses (as specific IgE) to a panel of recombinant Aspergillus fumigatus (rAsp f) allergens and the occurrence of ABPA (ABPA) in relation to clinical outcomes.
Results: Individuals with BCO illustrate an increased frequency and clinical severity of ABPA compared to COPD and bronchiectasis without overlap. BCO-associated ABPA demonstrates more severe disease, higher exacerbation rates and lower lung function when compared to ABPA occurring in the absence of overlap. BCO with a severe bronchiectasis severity index (BSI) (>9) significantly associates with the occurrence of ABPA that is unrelated to underlying COPD severity.
Conclusions: BCO demonstrates a high frequency of ABPA that associates with a severe BSI (>9) and poor clinical outcomes. Clinicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for the potential development of ABPA in BCO patients with high BSI.
- Bronchiectasis-COPD overlap