Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis can overlap and share pathologic features, such as small airway disease (SAD). Whether the presence of SAD and emphysema in smokers with CT-derived bronchiectasis is associated with exacerbations is unknown. Purpose: To assess whether SAD and emphysema in smokers with CT-derived bronchiectasis are associated with future exacerbations. Materials and Methods: SAD and emphysema were quantified using the parametric response map method in former and current heavy smokers with and without bronchiectasis at CT from the COPDGene Study (from July 2009 to July 2018). Exacerbations were prospectively assessed through biannual follow-up. An exacerbation was defined as an increase in or new onset of respiratory symptoms treated with antibiotics and/or corticosteroids. Severe exacerbations were defined as those that required hospitalization. The association of a high burden of SAD (≥15.6%) and high burden of emphysema (≥5%) at CT with exacerbations was assessed with generalized linear mixed models. Results: Of 737 participants, 387 (median age, 64 years [interquartile range, 58-71 years]; 223 women) had CT-derived bronchiectasis. During a 9-year follow-up, after adjustment for age, sex, race, body mass index, current smoking status, pack-years, exacerbations before study entry, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, or FEV1, and bronchiectasis severity CT score, high burden of SAD and high burden of emphysema were associated with a higher number of exacerbations per year (relative risk [RR], 1.89 [95% CI: 1.54, 2.33] and 1.37 [95% CI: 1.13, 1.66], respectively; P ≤.001 for both). Results were comparable among participants with bronchiectasis meeting criteria for COPD (n = 197) (RR, 1.67 [95% CI: 1.23, 2.27] for high burden of SAD and 1.51 [95% CI: 1.20, 1.91] for high burden of emphysema; P ≤ .001 for both). Conclusion: In smokers with CT-derived bronchiectasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, structural damage to lung parenchyma and small airways was associated with a higher number of exacerbations per year.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging