Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2021 Jul 2;82(7):1-9. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2020.0739. Epub 2021 Jul 13.
Bronchiectasis is a common respiratory condition, characterised by abnormal bronchial dilatation, that often leads to recurrent airway infection and inflammation. It is an increasingly recognised respiratory condition, both as a primary lung disease but also co-existing with other respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. Diagnosis can have important treatment implications. There are shared systematic approaches to treatment, such as sputum clearance techniques, prompt treatment of exacerbations and, in certain circumstances, regular antibiotic therapy. It is vital to target antibiotic therapy appropriately, and knowledge of the patient's airway microbiology can assist with this. Certain infective and colonising organisms, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, cause worse patient outcomes and so need prompt treatment with appropriate antibiotics. In addition to this general management approach, there are many different underlying causes of bronchiectasis that should be identified wherever possible, to support more targeted therapy and prevent disease progression. This article provides a guide to the key principles of diagnosing and managing bronchiectasis, and outlines situations where more specialist respiratory support is required.