There is evidence that coexisting bronchiectasis (BE) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) aggravates the course of the disease. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the frequency and severity of bacterial exacerbations in COPD patients with BE. The frequency and duration of bacterial exacerbations treated in a 12‐month period, as well as the duration of the exacerbation‐free interval, were evaluated in 54 patients with COPD (Group D) who were diagnosed and assessed according to official recommendations. In 27 patients, BE was diagnosed by high‐resolution computed tomography (HRCT), whereas an equal number of COPD patients who were confirmed negative for BE by HRCT, served as controls. We found a significantly higher mean number of exacerbations in a 12‐month period in COPD patients with BE (2.9 ± 0.5), as compared to their mean number in controls (2.5 ± 0.3) (p = 0.0008). The mean duration of exacerbation, i.e. the mean number of days elapsed before complete resolution of the symptoms or their return to the baseline severity, was significantly longer in COPD patients with BE as compared to their mean duration in controls (6.9 ± 1.8 vs. 5.7 ± 1.4; p = 0.0085). In addition, the mean exacerbation‐free interval expressed in days, in patients with COPD with BE, was significantly shorter than in COPD patients in whom BE were excluded (56.4 ± 17.1 vs. 67.2 ± 14.3; p = 0.0149). Overall, our findings indicate that coexisting BE in COPD patients may lead to more frequent exacerbations with a longer duration.
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