20 July 2017
Pulmonary emphysema is an important radiological finding in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients, but bacteriological differences in pneumonia patients according to the severity of emphysematous changes have not been reported. Therefore, we evaluated the bacteriological incidence in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of pneumonia patients using cultivation and a culture-independent molecular method. Japanese patients with community-acquired pneumonia (83) and healthcare-associated pneumonia (94) between April 2010 and February 2014 were evaluated. The BALF obtained from pneumonia lesions was evaluated by both cultivation and a molecular method. In the molecular method, ~600 base pairs of bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA genes in the BALF were amplified by polymerase chain reaction, and clone libraries were constructed. The nucleotide sequences of 96 randomly selected colonies were determined, and a homology search was performed to identify the bacterial species. A qualitative radiological evaluation of pulmonary emphysema based on chest computed tomography (CT) images was performed using the Goddard classification. The severity of pulmonary emphysema based on the Goddard classification was none in 47.4% (84/177), mild in 36.2% (64/177), moderate in 10.2% (18/177), and severe in 6.2% (11/177). Using the culture-independent molecular method, Moraxella catarrhalis was significantly more frequently detected in moderate or severe emphysema patients than in patients with no or mild emphysematous changes. The detection rates of Haemophilus influenzae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were unrelated to the severity of pulmonary emphysematous changes, and Streptococcus species – except for the S. anginosus group and S. pneumoniae – were detected more frequently using the molecular method we used for the BALF of patients with pneumonia than using culture methods. Our findings suggest that M. catarrhalis is more frequently detected in pneumonia patients with moderate or severe emphysema than in those with no or mild emphysematous changes on chest CT. M. catarrhalis may play a major role in patients with pneumonia complicating severe pulmonary emphysema.