Bronchiectasis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Hamid Qazi, MD, BSc [2], Saarah T. Alkhairy, M.D.


Bronchiectasis affects extremes of age in certain indigenous populations with a slight female dominance. It is difficult to estimate the prevalence because it is often misdiagnosed. In developed countries, it is important to diagnose the underlying cause and in these countries the age of onset mostly is in adulthood. In developing countries, infection in childhood period is a common cause.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Prevalence and Incidence

  • The true prevalence of bronchiectasis is uknown, given that bronchiectasis remains underdiagnosed and is often misdiagnosed as either asthma or COPD. The estimated prevalence of bronchiectasis in USA is approximately 30 to 40 per 100,000 individuals.[1]
  • In USA, the average annual bronchiectasis-associated hospitalization rate approximately 16.5 per 100,000 hospitalizations.[1]


  • Bronchiectasis predominantly affect extremes of age.[1]
  • The prevalence of bronchiectasis rises steeply from 4-5 per 100,000 adults aged 18-34 years to 250 to 300 per 100,000 individuals aged > 75 years.[1]


  • Predominantly women
  • The women that are infected with primary Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) tend to be Caucasian, slender, and older than 60 years. It is given the name of Lady Windermere syndrome which is named after a character in a novel by Oscar Wilde.
  • Annual increase of about 2.4% in men and 3.0% in women for bronchiectasis-associated hospitalizations.[1]


  • There is no known association of increased incidence of the bronchiectasis and a particular race.
  • Very high prevalence in certain indigenous populations such as Alaskan natives with 10-20/1000 children affected.[1]

Developed Countries

  • Before antibiotics, the symptoms on bronchiectasis began in the patient's first decade of life. In developed countries, the age of onset has move to adulthood (except those with cysts fibrosis).[2]
  • It is important to understand the underlying cause before initiating treatment.[2]

Developing Countries

  • Infections are an important cause of bronchiectasis because the disease may not be diagnosed or be treated properly in the developing countries.[3]
  • Bronchiectasis is a large concern for pediatricians because children are largely affected.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 McDonnell MJ, Ward C, Lordan JL, Rutherford RM (2013). "Non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis". QJM. 106 (8): 709–15. doi:10.1093/qjmed/hct109. PMID 23728208.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bilton, Diana (2008). "Update on non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis". Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. 14 (6): 595–599. doi:10.1097/MCP.0b013e328312ed8c. ISSN 1070-5287.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Karadag, B.; Karakoc, F.; Ersu, R.; Kut, A.; Bakac, S.; Dagli, E. (2005). "Non-Cystic-Fibrosis Bronchiectasis in Children: A Persisting Problem in Developing Countries". Respiration. 72 (3): 233–238. doi:10.1159/000085362. ISSN 1423-0356.

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