To evaluate patients with stable COPD for the presence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms (PPM), systemic inflammation and the effects of short-term antibiotic therapy in PPM positive patients.
From January 2016 to June 2017, we enrolled 96 stable COPD patients. Bacterial cultures from sputum collections were quantitated, along with markers for systemic inflammation including serum C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and plasma fibrinogen (FIB) in all patients. All enrolled patients were followed for 12 months. Forty patients were identified as PPM positive and were randomly divided into an antibiotic group and a control group. The antibiotic group was treated with moxifloxacin orally for 6 days. Lung function and markers for systemic inflammation were repeatedly measured at 30 days and 6 months in PPM positive subjects.
Binary logistic regression analysis showed that risk factors for PPM positive are bronchiectasis (OR 4.18, 95% CI 1.20–14.59; P=0.025), COPD assessment test (CAT) ≥20 (OR 17.55, 95% CI 2.82–109.18; P=0.002), spontaneous sputum (OR 15.09, 95% CI 1.36–168.02; P=0.027) and sputum purulence (OR 38.43, 95% CI 5.39–274.21; P=0.000). CRP and IL-8 were higher in PPM positive group than those in PPM negative group ( P=0.001, P=0.007, respectively), but there were no differences of FIB between the two groups ( P=0.086). Compared to the PPM negative group, the rate of acute exacerbation of COPD was higher ( P=0.029) and time to next acute exacerbation was shorter ( P=0.030) in PPM positive group. There were no differences in lung function and systemic inflammatory markers either in the control group or the antibiotic group at different time points of follow-up.