Respiratory Infections and Antibiotic Usage in Common Variable Immunodeficiency

Publication date: Available online 19 July 2017
Source:The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Author(s): Johannes M. Sperlich, Bodo Grimbacher, Sarita Workman, Tanzina Haque, Suranjith L. Seneviratne, Siobhan O. Burns, Veronika Reiser, Werner Vach, John R. Hurst, David M. Lowe
BackgroundPatients with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) suffer frequent respiratory tract infections despite immunoglobulin replacement and are prescribed significant quantities of antibiotics. The clinical and microbiological nature of these exacerbations, the symptomatic triggers to take antibiotics, and the response to treatment have not been previously investigated.ObjectivesTo describe the nature, frequency, treatment, and clinical course of respiratory tract exacerbations in patients with CVID and to describe pathogens isolated during respiratory tract exacerbations.MethodsWe performed a prospective diary card exercise in 69 patients with CVID recruited from a primary immunodeficiency clinic in the United Kingdom, generating 6210 days of symptom data. We collected microbiology (sputum microscopy and culture, atypical bacterial PCR, and mycobacterial culture) and virology (nasopharyngeal swab multiplex PCR) samples from symptomatic patients with CVID.ResultsThere were 170 symptomatic exacerbations and 76 exacerbations treated by antibiotics. The strongest symptomatic predictors for commencing antibiotics were cough, shortness of breath, and purulent sputum. There was a median delay of 5 days from the onset of symptoms to commencing antibiotics. Episodes characterized by purulent sputum responded more quickly to antibiotics, whereas sore throat and upper respiratory tract symptoms responded less quickly. A pathogenic virus was isolated in 56% of respiratory exacerbations and a potentially pathogenic bacteria in 33%.ConclusionsPatients with CVID delay and avoid treatment of symptomatic respiratory exacerbations, which could result in structural lung damage. However, viruses are commonly represented and illnesses dominated by upper respiratory tract symptoms respond poorly to antibiotics, suggesting that antibiotic usage could be better targeted.

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