Purpose: Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is characterised by repeated upper and lower respiratory tract infections, neutrophilic airway inflammation and obstructive airway disease. Different ultrastructural ciliary defects may affect lung function decline to different degrees. Lung clearance index (LCI) is a marker of ventilation inhomogeneity that is raised in some but not all patients with PCD. We hypothesised that PCD patients with microtubular defects would have worse (higher) LCI than other PCD patients.
Methods: Spirometry and LCI were measured in 69 stable patients with PCD. Age at testing, age at diagnosis, ethnicity, ciliary ultrastructure, genetic screening result and any growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was recorded.
Results: Lung clearance index was more abnormal in PCD patients with microtubular defects (median 10.24) than those with dynein arm defects (median 8.3, p = 0.004) or normal ultrastructure (median 7.63, p = 0.0004). Age is correlated with LCI, with older patients having worse LCI values (p = 0.03, r = 0.3).
Conclusion: This study shows that cilia microtubular defects are associated with worse LCI in PCD than dynein arm defects or normal ultrastructure. The patient's age at testing is also associated with a higher LCI. Patients at greater risk of obstructive lung disease should be considered for more aggressive management. Differences between patient groups may potentially open avenues for novel treatments.
- Lung function
- Rare disease