Bronchiectasis, defined as a permanent and progressive dilation of the
airways of the lungs, is thought to be highly prevalent in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD. This relationship is associated with increased inflammation in the bronchial tubes, exacerbations that are longer in duration and more intense, a higher degree of bacterial colonization in the bronchial mucosa and worsening functional impairment.
The study consisted of 201 subjects with moderate-to-severe COPD. Of these, 115 (57.2%) had bronchiectasis. During the 2 years of follow-up, 51 deaths were reported; forty three of these deaths being among those patients with bronchiectasis.
Although the study was not without limitations, researchers believe the results suggest that the presence of bronchiectasis in patients with moderate-to-severe COPD leads to a higher risk of death from all causes, independent of other known factors, such as pulmonary function or accompanying health conditions.
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