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Respir Med. 2006 Dec;100(12):2183-9. Epub 2006 May 2.

Characterisation of the onset and presenting clinical features of adult bronchiectasis.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Monash Medical Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.



There is little information available on the features of initial presentation of bronchiectasis and documentation of the onset and progress of symptoms leading up to this. Therefore a study was performed on a large cohort of adult patients presenting to Monash Medical Centre (MMC) to survey the course of their disease up to the time of diagnosis.


To characterise the onset and presenting clinical features of bronchiectasis in adults.


A cross-sectional study of 103 adults presenting to a tertiary referral hospital with newly diagnosed bronchiectasis. Clinical features of bronchiectasis and results of spirometry, sputum microbiology and radiology were assessed and correlated.


Most patients had idiopathic bronchiectasis (74%) and did not have other significant disease. The dominant symptom was chronic productive cough present in 98% of patients with other important symptoms being chronic rhinosinusitis (70%), dyspnoea (62%), and fatigue (74%). Most patients had had a chronic productive cough for over 30 years prior to diagnosis and over 80% of patients had chronic respiratory symptoms from childhood. The dominant finding on physical examination was the presence of crackles which were generally bi-basal. Spirometry showed mild airway obstruction with an average forced expiratory volume in 1s of the cohort of 76% predicted. Radiologic imaging generally showed multilobar disease (80%).


The typical profile of bronchiectasis in this group of patients was of longstanding productive cough, rhinosinusitis and fatigue in non-smokers with crackles on chest auscultation.

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