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Bronchiectasis statistics

Bronchiectasis can occur if your airways (bronchi) become damaged, causing them to become wider than normal.

When this happens, they cannot clear the mucus that keeps them moist, and trap the dust and germs you breathe in. Mucus builds up and the airways can become infected by bacteria. If bacteria
survive, the airways become inflamed and further damaged. Once the damage has occurred, it is permanent.

These statistics on bronchiectasis in the UK were compiled as part of our Respiratory Health of the Nation project by teams at St George’s, University of London, Nottingham University and Imperial College London.

Numbers of people with bronchiectasis

How many people in the UK have bronchiectasis?

Around 210,000 people in the UK were living with bronchiectasis in 2012. This is at least four times higher than the estimate commonly used by the NHS of around 50,000. From 2008 to 2012 prevalence increased by 20%, with the number of people recorded to be living with bronchiectasis going up by 40,000.

Other research published this year suggests bronchiectasis prevalence could be in excess of 300,000. More research is required to confirm the number of people living with the condition, and to determine whether bronchiectasis is becoming more common, or being diagnosed more accurately.

The increase in prevalence could reflect the reclassification of diseases, and a better understanding of the importance of the condition.

Number of people per 100,000 ever diagnosed with bronchiectasis, 2004–12


How many people have bronchiectasis in each region of the UK?

A higher proportion of people have bronchiectasis in the West Midlands than elsewhere in the UK, and a lower proportion in the South East of England. This was seen throughout the years 2004–12.

Number of people per 100,000 ever diagnosed with bronchiectasis, by UK region, 2004–12


How many people develop bronchiectasis each year in the UK?

In recent years, there has been an increase in the rate of first diagnoses of bronchiectasis in primary care.

33 people for every 100,000 were newly diagnosed in 2012, up from 20 for every 100,000 in 2004.

Number of people per 100,000 newly diagnosed with bronchiectasis, each year, 2004–12


How many males and females have bronchiectasis in the UK?

In 2012, 379 females and 281 males for every 100,000 had bronchiectasis.

More females than males had the condition throughout the years 2004–12.

Number of males and females ever diagnosed with bronchiectasis per 100,000, 2004–12


How many males and females developed bronchiectasis each year in 2004–12?

In 2012, 36 females and 30 males for every 100,000 were diagnosed for the first time with bronchiectasis. Throughout 2004–12, there were always more new cases each year among females than males. Around 35% more women than men are diagnosed with bronchiectasis each year.   

Number of males and females per 100,000 newly diagnosed with bronchiectasis each year, 2004–12


Ages of people with bronchiectasis

How old are the people with bronchiectasis in the UK?

Around 60% of bronchiectasis diagnoses are made in people aged over 70. Being diagnosed with the condition is more likely as you get older, between the ages of 30 and 70.

Number of people per 100,000 ever diagnosed with bronchiectasis, by age group, 2004–12


What age are the people who develop bronchiectasis each year in the UK?

Almost all the people newly diagnosed with bronchiectasis each year are over 40, with the chances of getting the condition increasing as people get older.

Number of people per 100,000 newly diagnosed with bronchiectasis, by age group, 2004–12


Deaths from bronchiectasis

How many people died from bronchiectasis in the UK in 2012?

In 2012, 1,567 people in the UK died from bronchiectasis (0.3 per cent of all deaths and 1.4 per cent of deaths from lung disease), up from 1,150 in 2008.

UK deaths from bronchiectasis compared with other lung diseases, 2012


How many males and females died from bronchiectasis in the UK in 2012?

In 2012, of the 1,567 people who died from bronchiectasis, 661 were males and 906 were females.


What age were the people who died from bronchiectasis in the UK in 2012?

In 2012, of the 1,567 people who died from bronchiectasis, 123 were aged 15–64 and 1,444 were aged 65 and above.

 


How many people died from bronchiectasis in each UK region in 2008–12?

England: There were higher mortality rates in the North East, the North West, the East Midlands, the West Midlands and the South East than in the UK generally. There were notably lower death rates in the East of England, London and the South West than in the UK generally. 

Scotland: The death rate was slightly lower than for the UK generally.

Wales: The death rate was similar to that of the UK generally.

Northern Ireland: The death rate was higher compared to the UK generally.

Bronchiectasis mortality ratios by UK regions, males and females, 2008–12


Emergency hospital admissions

How do rates of emergency admission to hospital for bronchiectasis vary across the UK, 2008–12?

England: There were higher rates of emergency admission in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands compared with the UK generally. Admission rates were notably lower in the South East and South West. 

Scotland: There were lower rates of admission compared with the UK generally, among both males and females.

Wales: There were lower rates of admission compared with the UK generally, the difference being greater for males than for females.

Northern Ireland: There was a considerably higher admission rate compared with the UK generally, among both males and females.

Bronchiectasis hospital admission ratios, males and females, in each UK region, 2008–12


Standard of living and bronchiectasis

Does your standard of living affect your chances of having bronchiectasis in the UK?

Figures for 2004–12 show that the chances of being diagnosed with bronchiectasis increase the better off you are.

Number of people per 100,000 ever diagnosed with bronchiectasis, by standard of living, 2004–12

Find out how the standard of living figures were calculated: Methodology – standard of living