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Infectious Diseases

Bronchiectasis and life span



Hi, I've been sickly since infancy, and was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis at the age of 17. This disease is developing into emphysema. I am currently 38. Only recently have doctors discovered I have an autoimmune disorder of some kind (ANA and double stranded DNA were both significantly positive). What is the expected life span for someone in my category? This will greatly help me in planning the remaining years of my life. Please note that my doctor mentioned I may be a lung transplant candidate in a few years. If so, what is the average life span of a lung transplant recipient? your frank and candid answer will be GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Thanks for your time!


Patients with chronic bronchiectasis and emphysema certainly deal a lot with recurrent bacterial pulmonary infections. As you point out, there appears to be an underlying pulmonary and/or autoimmune disease as the basic cause. As such, most patients are cared for by physicians specializing in pulmonary medicine, not infectious diseases. Lifespans are also greatly affected by the particular type of disease a person has, and whether lung transplant is needed or an option.

I can certainly understand your desire for accurate answers to your questions; however, I am probably not the person to ask. I would suggest addressing your concerns to a pulmonary specialist. Ideally, you already deal with one for your medical care. Such a person would be best able to answer your questions based on the particulars of your history and medical condition, and with the knowledge of what is the most current thinking in this particular medical field. These are very important questions, and I encourage you to have a detailed and thoughtful discussion with your physician.

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Response by:

Kenneth   Skahan, MD Kenneth Skahan, MD
Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati