A new study recently published in the journal PLOS One revealed that patients with bronchiectasis appear to have a poorer lung function and greater risk of disease exacerbations when also diagnosed with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). The study was led by researchers at Guangzhou Medical University in China, and is entitled “Impacts of Co-Existing Chronic Rhinosinusitis on Disease Severity and Risks of Exacerbations in Chinese Adults with Bronchiectasis.”
Bronchiectasis is a respiratory condition characterized by a chronic inflammation that usually results from an infection or other condition that injures the walls of the airways, causing irreversible airway dilatation and scarring. In bronchiectasis, the airways slowly lose their ability to clear out mucus, so it accumulates in the lungs, creating an environment prone to bacteria growth that can lead to severe lung infections. Sputum production, chronic cough and recurrent chest infections are signs of the disease.
A common comorbid disorder in patients with bronchiectasis is CRS, an upper airway inflammatory disease in which the cavities around the nasal passages (sinuses) become inflamed and swollen. CRS can make breathing through the nose difficult and also promotes the accumulation of mucus in the airways. The combination of both disorders can lead to greater illness and harmful impact on the patient’s lung function and quality of life.
In this new study, researchers assessed the link between CRS and bronchiectasis in Chinese adult patients, and analyzed the impact of CRS on lung function, lower airway symptoms, and exacerbation risk. In total, 148 adults with clinically stable bronchiectasis were included in the study and followed-up for a period of one year.
Researchers reported that 31.8% of the patient cohort (47 patients) was diagnosed with CRS, a percentage lower than what has been previously reported. Although the results were not statistically significant, the team observed that patients with CRS exhibited a trend towards a poorer lung function and greater bronchiectasis disease severity. These patients also had a significant greater risk for exacerbations.
Based on their findings, the research team concluded that patients with bronchiectasis and CRS seem to have a greater negative impact in their lung function and disease severity when compared to bronchiectasis patients without CRS. The authors suggest that physicians should screen bronchiectasis patients for concomitant CRS in order to improve the patient’s healthcare and properly manage both disorders.
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