06 May 2019
Introduction: The use of antibiotics is based on the clinician’s experience and judgment, and antibiotics may often be overused in the treatment of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD). Eosinophils have been studied as biomarkers of bacterial infection and prognostic factors in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and AECOPD. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine whether eosinophils could be used to determine bacterial infection in AECOPD events.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of patients admitted to Korea University Guro Hospital for AECOPD between January 2011 and May 2017. Data pertaining to baseline characteristics, results of previous pulmonary function tests, treatment information during the admission period, and history of pulmonary treatment were collected before admission.
Results: A total of 736 AECOPD events were eligible for inclusion and were divided into two groups based on the eosinophil count: those involving eosinophil counts of less than 2% (546 events) and those involving counts of 2% or more (190 events). In univariate analysis, the only bacterial pathogen identification events and bacterial-viral pathogen co-identification events were significantly more frequent in the group with eosinophil counts of less than 2% ( P=0.010 and P=0.001, respectively). In logistic regression analysis, the rates of only bacterial pathogen identification [odds ratios =1.744; 95% confidence interval, 1.107–2.749; P=0.017] and bacterial-viral pathogen co-identification [odds ratios=2.075; 95% confidence interval, 1.081–3.984; P=0.028] were higher in the group with eosinophil count less than 2%.
Conclusion: In conclusion, eosinophil counts of less than 2% are potential indicators of a bacterial infection in AECOPD events. Eosinophils could thus serve as a reference for the use of antibiotics in AECOPD treatment.