Journal Article

Molecular Diagnosis of Respiratory Tract Infection in Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Sanjay Sethi

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 52, issue suppl_4, pages S290-S295
Published in print May 2011 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online May 2011 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cir044
Molecular Diagnosis of Respiratory Tract Infection in Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Acute exacerbations are significant events in the course of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Modern diagnostic techniques have revealed an infectious cause for the majority of exacerbations. Common respiratory viruses contribute to 25%–50% of exacerbations. Detection of viral nucleic acids in nasopharyngeal swab or sputum samples has become the preferred method to study viral exacerbations instead of viral cultures and serologic examination. Clinical application of such molecular detection requires additional studies to clarify interpretation of a positive result. Bacteria account for 25%–50% of exacerbations. Studies comparing molecular detection of bacteria in sputum with conventional culture techniques have shown that a substantial proportion of bacteria are not detected by the latter method. However, as with molecular viral detection, clinical application of molecular bacterial diagnosis requires additional studies. Although still faced with several challenges and requiring additional development, it is quite likely that molecular methods will become the preferred methods for determining the etiology of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Journal Article.  3031 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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