A new study from researchers in Istanbul, Turkey evaluated risk factors that could contribute to bronchiectasis, including bacterial colonization. The report, titled “Bacterial colonization and associated factors in patients with bronchiectasis,” appeared in the journal Annals of Thoracic Medicine.
The cause of bronchiectasis is often unclear, but the disorder can be due to inherited conditions, inhaled objects, and severe lung infections. Bronchiectasis patients are known to have an increased risk for bacterial infections.
The scientists, led by first author Sermin Borekci, studied 121 patients between 1996 and 2013 who had noncystic fibrosis bronchiectasis. The investigators accessed already-collected information in what is known as a retrospective study. They examined images of the lungs that had been taken using either high-resolution computed tomography (CT) or multi-slice CT. The team further evaluated bacterial cultures that had been taken from the patients.
The researchers identified two major types of bacteria in brochiectasis patients, Pseudomonas aeruginosa in 25 patients (20.6 percent) and Haemophilus influenzae in 14 patients (11.5 percent). The presence of either of these bacteria caused a low forced vital capacity (FVC) and the presence of cystic bronchiectasis. FVC is a measurement of lung function during which the patient exhales with force as much as possible. Cystic bronchiectasis is the most severe form of the disease.
In their article, the investigators reported, “The following factors have been found to be associated with colonization in patients with bronchiectasis: Low FVC% and the presence of cystic bronchiectasis.”
Bacterial colonization was found to worsen the clinical outcomes in patients with bronchiectasis. The two more common bacteria detected in the patient cohort were Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Haemophilus influenzae.
The research team concluded that patients with reduced FVC and cystic brochiectasis should be closely monitored, as they are at higher risk for bacterial colonization and worse clinical outcomes.
Bronchiectasis refers to the abnormal widening of the bronchi in the lungs, which are the main passageway to the lungs. Extra mucus can build up in the widened airway, and when this happens, there is an increased risk of infection via bacterial colonization. Bronchiectasis can lead to many symptoms, including tiredness due to poor breathing, cough with sputum, and poor concentration. Lung scans are frequently used to confirm a bronchiectasis diagnosis.