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Reflux in Bronchiectasis - Update June 2013

In the last few months, I have continued to train in laboratory techniques that are useful in bronchiectasis research, and have been busy writing academic papers.

Update - June 2013 In the last few months, I have continued to train in laboratory techniques that are useful in bronchiectasis research, and have been busy writing academic papers.

I have gained experience in measuring lung inflammation and using dyes to see characteristics in lung samples, for examples using dyes to count different types of cells.

I have learnt about how the bacteria Pseudomonas can be grown from the sputum of people with bronchiectasis and used in research. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly found in the lower airways of patients with bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis (CF). It carries toxic materials into lung cells causing damage. To try and protect itself from this infection the airways become inflamed and causes flare-ups of CF or bronchiectasis symptoms. Being able to grow pseudomonas will enable further studies looking at infection and reflux in the lung cells.

I have investigated academic literature about the causes, diagnosis and management of non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis, and published this literature review online in the Quarterly Medical Journal. Read the abstract.

I have helped write academic papers on evaluating disease severity in bronchiectasis, and on the role of genetics in causing idiopathic bronchiectasis. The first of these papers has been published in the journal Respiratory Medicine. Read the abstract.

I am currently working with a surgical colleague looking at quality of life questionnaires assessing the impact of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. We hope to submit this paper for publication later this year.

I have submitted two abstracts to this year’s European Respiratory Society Congress in Barcelona, September 2013. One study involves assessing the prevalence of hiatus hernia in people with bronchiectasis and its relationship with disease severity. A hiatus hernia is when part of the stomach pushes up into the lower chest through the muscle that separates the lungs from the abdomen, can cause the person to have reflux. The early results suggest that around one third of people with bronchiectasis also have a hiatus hernia. This third of people with bronchiectasis are more likely to have cystic bronchiectasis (a severe form of radiological disease), damage in more areas of the lung, and greater reduced lung function than those without a hiatus hernia.

Since the last update, I have received funding to complete my research and am grateful to the ERS/ELF for helping me reach this point. The National Academic Fellowship programme in Ireland is a competitive research training opportunity, open to doctors of all specialities, with only two places awarded each year. Winning this funding will allow me to complete my training in research techniques, and introduce these techniques in Galway. I hope to continue working to produce high quality, potentially practice-changing research in this important clinical area.