Exacerbations—when non-CF bronchiectasis symptoms get serious

Patients with non-CF bronchiectasis may have to deal with symptoms every day. When those symptoms escalate, the cycle of inflammation, infection, and damage accelerates. The consequences of recurrent exacerbations can become more serious and more limiting over time. Patients may miss work and avoid social situations, and even simple tasks can become difficult.1-5


I don't think a day goes by that I don't think about what the future holds, I fear this might be something that shortens my life. 

—Barbara J., Chicago


Recognizing non-CF bronchiectasis signs and symptoms

Non-CF bronchiectasis symptoms mirror more common respiratory diseases and vary greatly from patient to patient. As a result, non-CF bronchiectasis can be easily mistaken for other respiratory illnesses. Diagnosis can take years, and the delay often exacerbates the severity of symptoms.1,4,6,7

Common non-CF bronchiectasis symptoms include1,6,8:
chronic cough chest pain
sputum production hemoptysis
dyspnea fatigue

Patients may also suffer from1,6,8:
weight loss bronchospasms


Exacerbations take their toll

Non-CF bronchiectasis exacerbations have both a clinical and financial impact on patients and the healthcare system.

11 %
mortality increase
A US study observed a mortality increase of 10.6% over a 3.5-year period9
29 %
death rate
A UK study demonstrated a 29% death rate over 13 years, twice that predicted for age-matched patient groups10


Additionally, the total cost burden on patients and the US healthcare system is an estimated $630 million per year. In 2001, the annual medical cost of care for people in the US with bronchiectasis was greater than other chronic diseases.11



annually per person11

Heart disease


annually per person11



annually per person11


Explore the impact of exacerbations

Non-CF bronchiectasis has a measurable impact on clinical parameters, such as lung function and respiratory infections, as well as a devastating emotional impact on patients. This can increase with each exacerbation.2-6


These patients have a chronic disease. They can't imagine feeling better and they don't know when, or if ever, it's really going to happen. 

Explore the underlying pathogens  

Get the latest information on the diagnosis and management of non-CF bronchiectasis.

Learn more about management 



  1. Yap VL, Metersky ML. New therapeutic options for noncystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2015;28(2):171-176.
  2. Finch S, McDonnell MJ, Abo-Leyah H, Aliberti S, Chalmers JD. A comprehensive analysis of the impact of Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonization on prognosis in adult bronchiectasis. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2015;12:1602-1611.
  3. Welsh EJ, Evans DJ, Fowler SJ, Spencer S. Interventions for bronchiectasis: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. In: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2015:7.
  4. Athanazio R. Airway disease: similarities and differences between asthma, COPD and bronchiectasis. Clinics. 2012;67(11):1335-1343.
  5. British Thoracic Society Bronchiectasis (non-CF) Guideline Group. Guideline for non-CF bronchiectasis. Thorax. 2010;65(suppl):17-158.
  6. Chawla K, Vishwanath S, Manu M, Lazer B. Influence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on exacerbation in patients with bronchiectasis. J Global Infect Dis. 2015;7:18-22.
  7. Altenburg J, Wortel K, Van der Werf TS, Boersma WG. Non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment, illustrated by data from a Dutch teaching hospital. Neth J Med. 2015;73:147-154.
  8. Goeminne P, Dupont L. Non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: diagnosis and management in 21st century. Postgrad Med J. 2010;86:493-501.
  9. Goeminne PC, Nawrot TS, Ruttens D, Seys S, Dupont LJ. Mortality in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: a prospective cohort analysis. Respir Med. 2014;108:287-296.
  10. McDonnell MJ, Jary HR, Perry A, et al. Non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis: a longitudinal retrospective observational cohort study of Pseudomonas persistence and resistance. Respir Med. 2015;109:716-726.
  11. Weycker D, Edelsberg J, Oster GM, Tino G. Prevalence and economic burden of bronchiectasis. Clin Pulm Med. 2005;12:205-209.