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      Phenotyping and outcomes of hospitalized COPD patients using rapid molecular diagnostics on sputum samples

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          Etiologies of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) are heterogeneous. We phenotyped severe AECOPD based on molecular pathogen detection of sputum samples collected at hospitalization of COPD patients and determined their outcomes.


          We phenotyped 72 sputum samples of COPD patients who were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of AECOPD using a molecular array that detected common bacterial and viral respiratory pathogens. Based on these results, the patients were classified into positive or negative pathogen groups. The pathogen-positive group was further divided into virus or bacteria subgroups. Admission day 1 blood samples were assayed for N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide, CRP, and complete blood counts.


          A total of 52 patients had a positive result on the array, while 20 patients had no pathogens detected. The most common bacterial pathogen detected was Haemophilus influenzae and the most common virus was rhinovirus. The pathogen-negative group had the worse outcomes with longer hospital stays (median 6.5 vs 5 days for bacteria-positive group, P=0.02) and a trend toward increased 1-year mortality ( P=0.052). The bacteria-positive group had the best prognosis, whereas the virus-positive group had outcomes somewhere in between the bacteria-positive and pathogen-negative groups.


          Molecular diagnostics on sputum can rapidly phenotype serious AECOPD into bacteria-, virus-, or pathogen-negative groups. The bacteria-positive group appears to have the best prognosis, while pathogen-negative group has the worst. These data suggest that AECOPD is a heterogeneous event and that accurate phenotyping of AECOPD may lead to novel management strategies that are personalized and more precise.

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          Most cited references 30

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          Sampling and pyrosequencing methods for characterizing bacterial communities in the human gut using 16S sequence tags

          Intense interest centers on the role of the human gut microbiome in health and disease, but optimal methods for analysis are still under development. Here we present a study of methods for surveying bacterial communities in human feces using 454/Roche pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene tags. We analyzed fecal samples from 10 individuals and compared methods for storage, DNA purification and sequence acquisition. To assess reproducibility, we compared samples one cm apart on a single stool specimen for each individual. To analyze storage methods, we compared 1) immediate freezing at -80°C, 2) storage on ice for 24 or 3) 48 hours. For DNA purification methods, we tested three commercial kits and bead beating in hot phenol. Variations due to the different methodologies were compared to variation among individuals using two approaches--one based on presence-absence information for bacterial taxa (unweighted UniFrac) and the other taking into account their relative abundance (weighted UniFrac). In the unweighted analysis relatively little variation was associated with the different analytical procedures, and variation between individuals predominated. In the weighted analysis considerable variation was associated with the purification methods. Particularly notable was improved recovery of Firmicutes sequences using the hot phenol method. We also carried out surveys of the effects of different 454 sequencing methods (FLX versus Titanium) and amplification of different 16S rRNA variable gene segments. Based on our findings we present recommendations for protocols to collect, process and sequence bacterial 16S rDNA from fecal samples--some major points are 1) if feasible, bead-beating in hot phenol or use of the PSP kit improves recovery; 2) storage methods can be adjusted based on experimental convenience; 3) unweighted (presence-absence) comparisons are less affected by lysis method.
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            Persistent colonization by Haemophilus influenzae in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae colonizes the respiratory tract of adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and causes intermittent exacerbations. Isolates of H. influenzae collected monthly in a prospective study were subjected to molecular typing. During a 7-year study spanning 345 patient-months of observation, 122 episodes of negative cultures lasting 1 month or more, and that were preceded and followed by isolation of an apparently identical strain of H. influenzae, were found. Seventeen such episodes of negative cultures, lasting 6 months or more and spanning 203 patient-months, were studied in detail to test the hypothesis that these periods of negative cultures represented continuous colonization by the same strain of H. influenzae. Molecular typing by three independent methods established that the strains preceding and following the episodes of negative cultures were indeed identical. Strain-specific H. influenzae DNA was detected in some of the sputum samples that had yielded negative cultures. These results indicate that some patients with COPD are persistently colonized with H. influenzae and that sputum cultures underestimate the frequency of colonization of the respiratory tract by H. influenzae in COPD. This observation has a significant impact on understanding bacterial colonization in COPD.
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              Comorbidities and short-term prognosis in patients hospitalized for acute exacerbation of COPD: the EPOC en Servicios de medicina interna (ESMI) study.

              Comorbidities are frequent in patients hospitalized for COPD exacerbation, but little is known about their relation with short-term mortality and hospital readmissions. Our hypothesis is that the frequency and type of comorbidities impair the prognosis within 12 weeks after discharge. A longitudinal, observational, multicenter study of patients hospitalized for a COPD exacerbation with spirometric confirmation was performed. Comorbidity information was collected using the Charlson index and a questionnaire that included other common conditions not included in this index. Dyspnea, functional status, and previous hospitalization for COPD or other reasons among other variables were investigated. Information on mortality and readmissions for COPD or other causes was collected up to 3 months after discharge. We studied 606 patients, 594 men (89.9%), with a mean (SD) age of 72.6 (9.9) years and a postbronchodilator FEV1 of 43.2% (21.2). The mean Charlson index score was 3.1 (2.0). On admission, 63.4% of patients had arterial hypertension, 35.8% diabetes mellitus, 32.8% chronic heart failure, 20.8% ischemic heart disease, 19.3% anemia, and 34% dyslipemia. Twenty-seven patients (4.5%) died within 3 months. The Charlson index was an independent predictor of mortality (P < .003; OR,1.23; 95% CI, 1.07-1.40), even after adjustment for age, FEV1, and functional status measured with the Katz index. Comorbidity was also related with the need for hospitalization from the ED, length of stay, and hospital readmissions for COPD or other causes. Comorbidities are common in patients hospitalized for a COPD exacerbation, and they are related to short-term prognosis.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                23 January 2019
                : 14
                : 311-319
                [1 ]Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, James Hogg Research Centre, St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada, don.sin@
                [2 ]Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary Medicine, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
                [3 ]Institute for Heart and Lung Health, Vancouver, BC, Canada, don.sin@
                [4 ]PROOF Centre of Excellence, Vancouver, BC, Canada
                [5 ]Department of Radiology, St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada
                [6 ]Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
                [7 ]Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, don.sin@
                [8 ]The Lung Centre, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada
                [9 ]Department of Computer Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Don D Sin, Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, James Hogg Research Centre, Room 8446, St Paul’s Hospital, 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6, Canada, Tel +1 604 806 8346, Fax +1 604 806 9274, Email don.sin@
                © 2019 Alotaibi et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                molecular pathogen detection, copd, exacerbation phenotypes


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