Bronchiectasis among Indigenous adults in the Top End of the Northern Territory, 2011–2020: A retrospective cohort study

Claire Gibbs, Timothy Paul Howarth, Adriana Ticoalu, Winnie Chen, Linda Ford, Asanga Abeyaratne, Lata Jayaram, Gabrielle McCallum, Subash S. Heraganahally

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Abstract

Objectives: To assess the prevalence of bronchiectasis among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) adults in the Top End of the Northern Territory, and mortality among Indigenous adults with bronchiectasis. Study design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting, participants: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults (18 years or older) living in the Top End Health Service region of the NT in whom bronchiectasis was confirmed by chest computed tomography (CT) during 1 January 2011 – 31 December 2020. Main outcome measures: Prevalence of bronchiectasis, and all-cause mortality among Indigenous adults with CT-confirmed bronchiectasis — overall, by sex, and by health district — based on 2011 population numbers (census data). Results: A total of 23 722 Indigenous adults lived in the Top End Health Service region in 2011; during 2011–2020, 459 people received chest CT-confirmed diagnoses of bronchiectasis. Their median age was 47.5 years (interquartile range [IQR], 39.9–56.8 years), 254 were women (55.3%), and 425 lived in areas classified as remote (93.0%). The estimated prevalence of bronchiectasis was 19.4 per 1000 residents (20.6 per 1000 women; 18.0 per 1000 men). The age-adjusted prevalence of bronchiectasis was 5.0 (95% CI, 1.4–8.5) cases per 1000 people in the Darwin Urban health area, and 18–36 cases per 1000 people in the three non-urban health areas. By 30 April 2023, 195 people with bronchiectasis had died (42.5%), at a median age of 60.3 years (IQR, 50.3–68.9 years). Conclusion: The prevalence of bronchiectasis burden among Indigenous adults in the Top End of the NT is high, but differed by health district, as is all-cause mortality among adults with bronchiectasis. The socio-demographic and other factors that contribute to the high prevalence of bronchiectasis among Indigenous Australians should be investigated so that interventions for reducing its burden can be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberMJA252204
Pages (from-to)188-195
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume220
Issue number4
Early online date15 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2024

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