Isolated respiratory tract microorganisms and clinical characteristics in asthma exacerbation of obese patients: a multicenter study

Sojung Park, Yong Il Hwang, Sei Won Lee, Hyo Jung Kim, Byung Keun Kim, Jin Hwa Lee, Yon Ju Ryu, So Ri Kim, Jung Hyun Chang

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Background: Viral infection is a risk factor for asthma exacerbation (AE). However, bacterial infections related to AE in adults are poorly known. On the other hand, obese patients with asthma have their own clinical and biological characteristics compared with non-obese patients. Methods: We investigated the differences in isolated pathogens for AE between obese and non-obese patients with asthma. We included 407 patients with AE from 24 medical centers in Korea. Microorganisms isolated from culture, RT-PCR or serologic tests using lower respiratory tract specimens were retrospectively investigated. Results: A total of 171 obese and 236 non-obese patients with asthma were included for analysis. Compared to non-obese patients, obese patients were associated with women (77.2% vs. 63.6%), never smoker (82.5% vs. 73.9%), shorter duration of asthma (7.9 ± 8.4 vs. 10.5 ± 10.1 years), less history of pulmonary tuberculosis (8.8% vs. 17.4%), and more comorbidity of allergic rhinitis (48.5% vs. 0.8%). Viral and/or bacterial infections were detected in 205 patients (50.4%) with AE. The numbers of patients with viral only, bacterial only, or both infections were 119, 49, and 37, respectively. The most commonly isolated bacterium was Streptococcus pneumoniae, followed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Chlamydia pneumoniae. Obese patients showed a lower incidence of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection. In the non-obese group, bacterial infection, especially Chlamydia pneumoniae infection, was significantly associated with the duration of systemic corticosteroid use (13.6 ± 19.8 vs. 9.7 ± 6.7 days, p = 0.049). Conclusion: Bacterial infection was associated with a longer period of corticosteroid use in the non-obese group. Acute Chlamydia pneumoniae infection was less associated with obese patients with AE. Further well-designed studies are needed to evaluate microorganisms and the efficacy of antibiotics in patients with AE.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

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Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Asthma
  • Bacteria
  • Exacerbation
  • Obesity
  • Virus


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