When diagnosing bronchiectasis, faster is always better. A faster diagnosis means a faster decision for treatment and often a sooner recovery for the patient. A group of researchers from Peking University People’s Hospital in Beijing developed a means to identify bacterial species associated with bronchiectasis using fluid samples from the lungs and a genomic sequencing method and were able to speed time to species identification by two days.
The team described their work in and Letter to the Editor concerning “Rapid Identification of Bacterial Species Associated with Bronchiectasis via Metagenomic Approach,” published in Biomedical and Environment Sciences. They collected bronchoalvelolar lavage fluid from a 55-year-old women who suffered from a persistent cough, chest distress, green-yellow expectoration, and a history of chronic bronchitis and sent it for 16S rDNA sequencing and metagenomic analysis.
Genes detected in the fluid were compared to the known bacterial genome using software and databases. Among the complex bacteria community identified, the Pseudomonadaceae family of bacteria were most abundant, with a presence of 58.1%. Carnobacteriaceae and Enterobacteria were also present, but in lesser proportions, with only 9.2% and 7.3%, respectively. Only a day and a half was spent on experiments, and an hour was spent analyzing the data with an automatic pipeline.
To confirm the genomic sequencing was accurate and up to current standards, the team performed routine bacterial culture for 12-15 hours, isolated the bacteria, and analyzed the samples using guidelines of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. The identified bacteria corresponded to the results of the genomic analysis, but only after three days had passed.
Although a few days may not seem very long in the grand scheme of life, to the patient with bronchiectasis, it was enough time to be cured of symptoms. The researchers determined clinical treatment using cefoperazone/sulbactam sodium and etimicin would be most appropriate for dealing with Pseudomonadaceae infection, and the patient began treatment immediately. She was relieved of her cough, and the nature of her expectoration and body temperature returned to normal, allowing her to be discharged sooner than expected.