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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Jul;50(7):638-46. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23150. Epub 2015 Jan 7.

Sputum induction improves detection of pathogens in children with cystic fibrosis.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.
Department of Biostatistics and Informatics, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado.



Sputum induction is a safe, well tolerated means of obtaining lower airway secretions from children with cystic fibrosis (CF), particularly for assessment of airway inflammation but the clinical value in diagnosing outpatient infections has not been extensively studied.


Investigate the success rate and microbiologic yield of induced sputum (IS) compared to oropharyngeal swabs (OP) and expectorated sputum (ES) samples in children with CF, and determine if IS culture results impact treatment.


Two cohorts were included in this prospective, longitudinal comparative study. In one cohort, simultaneously collected OP, ES, and IS specimens were obtained from 17 CF children at three visits over 1 year. In the second group, sputum induction was performed in 35 CF subjects at four annual visits, and culture results were compared to their nearest respiratory culture within 4 months. Antimicrobial treatment regimens were captured retrospectively.


Sputum induction was successful in 149 of 158 (94%) visit encounters. Polymicrobial infection (combined P = 0.005) and gram negative organisms (combined P = 0.003) were detected more frequently in IS samples compared to OP, as were the individual pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa (combined P = 0.04) and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (combined P = 0.05). The microbiologic yield of serial IS samples collected over 1 year was stable. IS culture results led to antibiotic changes in 6% of visit encounters. However, based on current practice 13% of visits could have resulted in treatment changes.


Sputum induction is feasible in the outpatient setting and appears to improve pathogen detection in children with CF.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa; airway infection; children; cystic fibrosis; sputum induction

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