The classic manifestation of primary ciliary dyskinesia includes situs inversus (mirror-inverted position of the organs), bronchiectasis (pathological dilatation of the smaller airways) and chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the paranasal sinuses). This symptom complex, first described by the Zurich physician Manes Kartagener in 1933, is referred to as the "Kartagener Triad" and is well recognized in its complete expression.
However, because primary ciliary dyskinesia presents a highly variable clinical picture in many affected individuals, a cilia-related disorder is often recognized late or not at all.
Due to the usually impaired mucociliary clearance mechanism in the airways, respiratory problems are in the foreground. However, the number and severity of symptoms vary from person to person and often change over the course of life.