Background: Respiratory tract infection is a major cause of acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma (AEBA). Although recent findings suggest that common bacteria are causally associated with AEBA, a comprehensive epidemiologic analysis of infectious pathogens including common/atypical bacteria and viruses in AEBA has not been performed. Accordingly, we attempted to detect pathogens during AEBA by using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in comparison to conventional methods. Methods: We prospectively enroled adult patients with AEBA from August 2012 to March 2014. Infectious pathogens collected in nasopharyngeal swab and sputum samples were examined in each patient by conventional methods and real-time PCR, which can detect 6 bacterial and 11 viral pathogens. The causal association of these pathogens with AEBA severity and their frequency of monthly distribution were also examined. Results: Among the 64 enroled patients, infectious pathogens were detected in 49 patients (76.6%) using real-time PCR and in 14 patients (21.9%) using conventional methods (p < 0.001). Real-time PCR detected bacteria in 29 patients (45.3%) and respiratory viruses in 28 patients (43.8%). Haemophilus influenzae was the most frequently detected microorganism (26.6%), followed by rhinovirus (15.6%). Influenza virus was the significant pathogen associated with severe AEBA. Moreover, AEBA occurred most frequently during November to January. Conclusions: Real-time PCR was more useful than conventional methods to detect infectious pathogens in patients with AEBA. Accurate detection of pathogens with real-time PCR may enable the selection of appropriate anti-bacterial/viral agents as a part of the treatment for AEBA.
- Acute exacerbation
- Bronchial asthma
- Real-time polymerase chain reaction
- Risk factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine