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South African Journal of Child Health

On-line version ISSN 1999-7671
Print version ISSN 1994-3032


HBISH, M; CHEN, J  and  JEENA, P M. Surgical treatment of bronchiectasis in children: An 11-year experience at a central health facility in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. S. Afr. j. child health [online]. 2022, vol.16, n.3, pp.152-157. ISSN 1999-7671.

BACKGROUND. The surgical management of children with bronchiectasis has seldom been reported. OBJECTIVE. To describe the presentation, surgical management and outcomes in children with bronchiectasis presenting for surgery. METHODS. We retrospectively reviewed the electronic records of 0 - 13-year-old children who underwent pulmonary resection for bronchiectasis at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, Durban, South Africa, between January 2004 and December 2014. Clinical, radiological and preoperative bronchoscopic findings, as well as surgical and histological outcomes, were analysed. RESULTS. Eighty-eight patients underwent surgical resection. The female/male ratio was 3:2, with a mean age at surgery of 8.2 (range 2 - 13) years; 39 patients were HIV infected and 39 were HIV uninfected. Tuberculosis (TB) (n=68; 77.2%) was the most common cause of bronchiectasis, and recurrent chest infection (n= 45; 51.1%) was the most common clinical finding. Radiological examination confirmed isolated left-sided disease in 40 children (45.4%), isolated right-sided disease in 28 (31.8%) and bilateral disease in 20 (22.7%). Saccular disease with fibrocavitation (n=35; 39.7%) was the most common morphological disease type. Preoperative bronchoalveolar lavage samples confirmed a bacterial cause in 27 patients (30.6%). The most common operative procedures were primary pneumonectomy in 33 patients (37.0%), lobectomy in 30 (34.0%) and bilobectomy in 13 (14.7%). Seventy-five patients were asymptomatic after the operation and complications occurred in 13. Two children (2.2%), one with sepsis and the other with intraoperative hypoxia, died. Seventy patients underwent complete resection. At 1 month after surgery, 89.2% of patients were asymptomatic, while 77.7% of symptomatic patients were HIV positive. CONCLUSIONS. Complete pulmonary resection in children with advanced-stage bronchiectasis is safe, with a low morbidity and mortality. Surgery in HIV-positive patients was not associated with worse outcomes and is not contraindicated. HIV- and TB-preventive measures could reduce the burden of childhood bronchiectasis.

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