The sole prospective longitudinal study of children with either chronic suppurative lung disease (CSLD) or bronchiectasis published in the current era was limited to a single center. We sought to extend this study by evaluating the longer‐term clinical and lung function outcomes and their associated risk factors in Indigenous children of adolescents from Australia, Alaska, and New Zealand who participated in our previous CSLD or bronchiectasis studies during 2004‐2010.
Between 2015 and 2018, we evaluated 131 out of 180 (72.8%) children of adolescents from the original studies at a single follow‐up visit. We administered standardized questionnaires, reviewed medical records, undertook clinical examinations, performed spirometry, and scored available chest computed tomography scans.
Participants were seen at a mean age of 12.3 years (standard deviation: 2.6) and a median of 9.0 years (range: 5.0‐13.0) after their original recruitment. With increasing age, rates of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) declined, while lung function was mostly within population norms (median forced expiry volume in one‐second = 90% predicted, interquartile range [IQR]: 81‐105; forced vital capacity [FVC] = 98% predicted, IQR: 85‐114). However, 43 out of 111 (38.7%) reported chronic cough episodes. Their overall global rating judged by symptoms, including ALRI frequency, examination findings, and spirometry was well (20.3%), stable (43.9%), or improved (35.8%). Multivariable regression identified household tobacco exposure and age at first ALRI‐episode as independent risk factors associated with lower FVC% predicted values.
Under our clinical care, the respiratory outcomes in late childhood or early adolescence are encouraging for these patient populations at high‐risk of premature mortality. Prospective studies to further inform management throughout the life course into adulthood are now needed.