Cystic fibrosis

Stop using the term ‘non-CF bronchiectasis’


Clinicians and researchers need to stop describing bronchiectasis by what it is not and instead embrace the name it has held for over 150 years, say respiratory experts from the UK.

In an editorial in Thorax Dr James D Chalmers and Professor J Stuart Elborn say the term ‘non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis’ implies that it is somehow less common or less important than cystic fibrosis (CF).

“This is not to understate the importance of CF but simply to emphasise that bronchiectasis is a very important group of disease entities in their own right,” they say.

Bronchiectasis requires research into the specific pathophysiology, development of specific drug therapies, and to achieve this it needs a clear identity.

While the heterogeneity of bronchiectasis is sometimes cited as a reason for not considering it a ‘real’ disease entity the disease is no more heterogeneous than many other common respiratory disorders, they say.

“Bronchiectasis is the final common pathway and diagnostic label for a wide range of disease processes, but the same is clearly true of COPD and asthma.”

“COPD is not ‘non-asthmatic airflow obstruction’ and bronchiectasis is not ‘non-cystic fibrosis’,” they wrote.

They conclude by challenging researchers and authors to call the disease by its ICD classification.  The editors of Thorax should also request revision of any manuscript submitted with the term ‘non-cystic fibrosis’ in reference to bronchiectasis.”

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