Table 1

Selected causes of bronchiectasis with their reported prevalence

Aetiology of bronchiectasisProportion of adult patients affectedTypical clinical features
Idiopathic20–60%Variable presentation
Post-infective20–40%History of severe infection in the affected lobe(s) or historical infection#
Post-TB<2% in developed countries
Dominant cause in Eastern Europe, Asia and possibly other regions
History of TB with cavitation and lung damage
ABPA1–10%History of asthma, sputum plugs, wheezing, response to corticosteroids and demonstration of specific allergy to Aspergillus
Central bronchiectasis
CTD1–10%Evidence of systemic CTD (most frequently rheumatoid arthritis)
Immunodeficiency<5%May be evidence of nonpulmonary infections or unusual microorganisms
CF<1% in “non-CF” adult clinicsUpper lobe bronchiectasis, extrapulmonary features, male infertility, malabsorption
Isolation of P. aeruginosa, S. aureus or NTM
PCD<2% but may be underestimated due to limited testingMiddle or lower lobe disease, history of otitis media and rhinosinusitis, early age of onset
Yellow nail syndrome<1%Yellow nails, pleural effusion
Tracheobronchomegaly<1%Characteristic radiological appearance of tracheal dilatation and central bronchiectasis
NTM infection2–50%Middle lobe nodular bronchiectatic disease
More common in females
May be scoliosis, pectus excavatum and low BMI
HIV infection<1%No characteristic phenotype
Haematological malignancy<1%Frequent respiratory tract infections
AATD<1%Paraseptal emphysema, airflow obstruction
Inhaled foreign body<1%Single lobe disease
COPD2–60%Mild bilateral lower lobe disease with empysema and history of cigarette smoking
Asthma1–50%Not well described
Gastro-oesophageal reflux or aspirationN/ABilateral lower lobe or isolated right lower lobe bronchiectasis
Not clearly identified as an aetiology
  • BMI: body mass index; N/A: not available. #: reverse causation and recall bias make these estimates unreliable; : whether these are true causes of bronchiectasis is debated. Prevalence rate data were extracted from [1, 12, 15–19].