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      Inflammation and chronic colonization of Haemophilus influenzae in sputum in COPD patients related to the degree of emphysema and bronchiectasis in high-resolution computed tomography

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          The presence of bacteria in the lower airways in COPD results in inflammation, further airway structural damage, and might lead to repeated exacerbations. We have previously shown that chronic colonization of Haemophilus influenzae during stable disease is related to increased inflammation, and we now aimed to relate previous findings of bacterial colonization and inflammation to the degree of radiological findings of bronchiectasis and emphysema. Thirty-nine patients with COPD were included in their stable state, and a high-resolution computed tomography of the lung was performed. They were followed-up monthly for up to a maximum of 6 months or until exacerbation, and they answered questionnaires, performed spirometry, and induced sputum at every visit. Thirty-five patients had emphysema with an emphysema degree of median 20% (interquartile range 10–50), and five patients had bronchiectasis, of which only four could expectorate sputum. The degree of emphysema correlated with several inflammatory mediators in sputum, such as interleukin-8 concentration, myeloperoxidase activity, and Leukotriene B 4 concentration. Ten patients were chronically colonized with H. influenzae (ie, had a positive culture for H. influenzae at all visits). The four sputum patients with bronchiectasis were chronically colonized with H. influenzae and showed higher degree of H. influenzae growth compared to patients without bronchiectasis. During exacerbation, there was no longer any correlation between emphysema degree and inflammation, but patients with bronchiectasis showed higher sputum purulence score than patients without bronchiectasis. Emphysema and bronchiectasis in COPD patients show different clinical features. The presence of emphysema is more related to inflammation, while bronchiectasis is associated with bacterial colonization. We believe that both emphysema and bronchiectasis are therefore COPD phenotypes of highest impact and need evaluation to prevent further disease progression.

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          Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

          Summary Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by progressive airflow obstruction that is only partly reversible, inflammation in the airways, and systemic effects or comorbities. The main cause is smoking tobacco, but other factors have been identified. Several pathobiological processes interact on a complex background of genetic determinants, lung growth, and environmental stimuli. The disease is further aggravated by exacerbations, particularly in patients with severe disease, up to 78% of which are due to bacterial infections, viral infections, or both. Comorbidities include ischaemic heart disease, diabetes, and lung cancer. Bronchodilators constitute the mainstay of treatment: β2 agonists and long-acting anticholinergic agents are frequently used (the former often with inhaled corticosteroids). Besides improving symptoms, these treatments are also thought to lead to some degree of disease modification. Future research should be directed towards the development of agents that notably affect the course of disease.
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            Reference spirometric values using techniques and equipment that meet ATS recommendations.

            Forced expiratory volumes and flows were measured in 251 healthy nonsmoking men and women using techniques and equipment that meet American Thoracic Society (ATS) recommendations. Linear regression equations using height and age alone predict spirometric parameters as well as more complex equations using additional variables. Single values for 95% confidence intervals are acceptable and should replace the commonly used method of subtracting 20% to determine the lower limit of normal for a predicted value. Our study produced predicted values for forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in one second that were almost identical to those predicted by Morris and associates (1) when the data from their study were modified to be compatible with the back extrapolation technique recommended by the ATS. The study of Morris and colleagues was performed at sea level in rural subjects, whereas ours was performed at an altitude of 1,400 m in urban subjects. Either the present study or the study of Morris and co-workers, modified to back extrapolation, could be recommended for predicting normal values.
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              Inflammation: a two-edged sword--the model of bronchiectasis.

               Jonathan Cole (1985)
              A short-lived, controlled inflammatory response by the host is required to protect against incursions by foreign material into the upper and lower respiratory tract. If this response fails to eliminate the aggressor, inflammation is amplified and becomes chronic in an attempt to rectify the situation. This unsuccessful response is poorly controlled and caused damage to surrounding normal tissue, leading to progressive disease. Hence, inflammation can be helpful or harmful--a two-edged sword. Chronic bronchial sepsis, of which bronchiectasis is an example, and chronic sinusitis display the hallmarks of this 'vicious circle' of host-mediated, inflammatory tissue damage and provide a useful model in man in which to ask questions, the answers to which provide valuable information about the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory disease of the lung.

                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
                01 November 2017
                : 12
                : 3211-3219
                [1 ]Respiratory Medicine and Allergology
                [2 ]Radiology, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ellen Tufvesson, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, BMC, D12, Lund University, 221 84 Lund, Sweden, Tel +46 46 222 78 28, Email ellen.tufvesson@
                © 2017 Tufvesson 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.

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