How bad is a patient’s bronchiectasis?

If bronchiectasis is well controlled, there should be few symptoms and patients will be able to lead a normal life. When symptoms begin to interfere with normal life, such as frequent chest infections, it becomes more troublesome.

Indicators of more severe or less well controlled bronchiectasis are:

  • Clinically:
    • Several parts of lungs are affected on CT scans.
    • Declining or poor lung function on pulmonary function testing.
    • Chronically colonised airways with bacteria from sputum samples, particularly Pseudomonas.
    • Hospital admissions because of chest infection or requiring intravenous antibiotics.
    • Impaired immune system which can also be associated with ageing.
  •   Patient reported symptoms:
    • Breathlessness – unable to walk 100m without stopping due to shortness of breath.
    • Chest infections – 3 or more per year requiring antibiotic treatments.
    • Weight loss - due to recurrent or chronic chest infections.
    • Ageing - Lungs decline naturally.
    • Variabilty of the patients ability to cope psychologically with their illness.

Many of these factors can improve with effective treatment.