The disease burden of bronchiectasis in comparison with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a national database study in Korea

Bumhee Yang, Hayoung Choi, Jun Hyeok Lim, Hye Yun Park, Danbee Kang, Juhee Cho, Jae Seung Lee, Sei Won Lee, Yeon-Mok Oh, Ji-Yong Moon, Sang-Heon Kim, Tae-Hyung Kim, Jang Won Sohn, Ho Joo Yoon, Hyun Lee


Background: The prevalence and disease burden of bronchiectasis in comparison to those of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have not been well elucidated using a nationally representative database.
Methods: We compared respiratory symptoms, physical activity, quality of life, and socioeconomic status in subjects with bronchiectasis versus those with COPD or control subjects participating in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2009. Participants were classified as physician-diagnosed bronchiectasis, COPD, and control (those without COPD or bronchiectasis).
Results: The prevalence of bronchiectasis in subjects aged 40 years or older was 0.8%. Compared to COPD subjects, bronchiectasis subjects were more likely to be younger (mean 59.0 years, P<0.001), female (47.6%, P<0.001), and never-smoker (50.1%, P<0.001) and have had history of pulmonary tuberculosis (40.5%, P<0.001) and osteoporosis (19.1%, P=0.025). However, as in COPD subjects, bronchiectasis subjects had low family income (P<0.001) and the proportion of subjects working as manager/professional/office workers (6.4%, P<0.001) was smaller than that of control subjects. After adjusting for covariables, compared to control, bronchiectasis subjects but not COPD subjects were more likely to have respiratory symptoms [adjusted odds ratio (OR) =7.96, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.10–30.12], limitation in physical activity (adjusted OR =9.43, 95% CI: 1.06–83.79), and low family income (adjusted OR =3.61, 95% CI: 1.75–7.47).
Conclusions: The prevalence of bronchiectasis in subjects at least 40 years of age was 0.8% in Korea. Despite large number of young patients and low prevalence of smoking history, respiratory symptoms, limitation in physical activity, and low family income were significant burden in bronchiectasis subjects.