Routine cultures not needed in COPD

In the latest version of Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic, the routine use of antibiotics is discouraged and clear advice about the role of sputum cultures is provided.

During an acute exacerbation of COPD, bacteria are generally only identified in 50% of sputum cultures. Additionally, a positive culture may not represent acute infection as many patients with COPD are colonised with organisms such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae.

Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic advises against