New guidelines for adult bronchiectasis
Clinically significant bronchiectasis is a combination of radiologic bronchial dilatation with clinical symptoms. Guidelines on management of adult bronchiectasis were recently published (Eur Respir J. 2017; Sep 10;50).
For all adult patients with clinically significant bronchiectasis, the guidelines suggest standardized minimum testing with differential blood count, serum immunoglobulins, and testing for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis with any further workup on an individual basis. Annual sputum surveillance is suggested for clinically stable adult patients; however, the evidence for this recommendation came from studies done on patients with cystic fibrosis.
Inhaled bronchodilators are suggested as the first-line treatment in symptomatic patients. Long-term antibiotics (greater than 3 months) are recommended in patients with greater than 3 exacerbations/year after optimizing airway clearance and disease-specific treatment. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections are to be treated with inhaled antibiotics (colistin or gentamicin) (Charles SH, et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2014;189975; Murray P, et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011;183:491; and nonpseudomonal infections are to be treated with macrolides (Conroy W, et al. Lancet. 2012;380:660; Altenburg J, et al. JAMA. 2013;309;1251), although interchangeable for intolerance. Sputum cultured early will guide therapy among poor responders. Long-term mucolytic agents are suggested in appropriate tolerating patients. Pulmonary rehabilitation for 6-8 weeks is strongly recommended in adult bronchiectasis with impaired exercise capacity. Surgical interventions for bronchiectasis are reserved for a small group of patients who have localized disease and high exacerbation rates despite maximal medical therapy. Inhaled corticosteroids are suggested not to be used in adult bronchiectasis. Guidelines recommend against the use of statins and recombinant human DNase as it increases exacerbations (Chest. 1998;113:1329. The task force acknowledged the low quality of evidence for their recommendations requiring more research in the field of adult bronchiectasis.
Bharat Bajantri, MD