This presents a challenge for policymakers to address this growing problem state researchers

Small pollutant particles and nitrogen dioxide, two of the most predominant factors in urban air pollution, worsen bronchiectasis in patients, according to European researchers.

They also found a significantly higher risk of bronchiectasis exacerbations (flare-ups) in the spring and summer, when people are more exposed to air pollution.

Researchers from different European countries, including the U.K., Belgium, and Switzerland, investigated the impact of small pollutant particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide on the risk of bronchiectasis exacerbations.

A total of 432 patients diagnosed with bronchiectasis by high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) were included in the study. They were recruited from a specialist clinic at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, U.K., from 2000 to 2014.

Of note, the risk of bronchiectasis exacerbation did not seem to be linked to the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, suggesting that exacerbations are not caused by a bacterial infection. The team was also able to demonstrate that fluctuations in the levels of air pollutants are associated with an increased risk of bronchiectasis worsening.

Read abstract of study “The impact of acute air pollution fluctuations on bronchiectasis pulmonary exacerbation. A case-crossover analysis,” in the European Respiratory Journal.