Ability of device to collect bacteria from cough aerosols generated by adults with cystic fibrosis

  • David N. Ku, Sarah K. Ku, Beth Helfman, Nael A. McCarty, Bernard J. Wolff, Jonas M. Winchell, Larry J. Anderson
  • F1000Research, August 2016, Faculty of 1000, Ltd.
  • DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.9251.1

Cough aerosol collection

What is it about?

Cough aerosol collection has the potential to drastically change the landscape of diagnosing lower respiratory infections. Collecting an uncontaminated lung specimen non-invasively may dictate more effective treatment for patients with lower respiratory infections. This paper examines the ability and effectiveness of collecting aerosols from coughs.

Why is it important?

Collecting an uncontaminated lung specimen non-invasively combined with sensitive molecular DNA analysis has the potential to better diagnose lower respiratory infections. If pathogens can be identified in the lungs of patients with lower respiratory infections, more effective treatment can be administered.


Sarah Ku
MD Innovate, Inc.

This paper uses cystic fibrosis patients as positive controls for an area of medicine in which we have little data. There is no gold standard for identifying lower respiratory infections, despite their ubiquitous presence in the United States as well as worldwide. Sputum and BAL specimens fall short in providing an uncontaminated lung specimen that can be obtained non-invasively. If pathogens can be identified in aerosols obtained from coughs, more effective narrow-spectrum antibiotic treatment can be administered if a specific bacteria is identified. Alternatively, if a virus is identified, antibiotic treatment can be avoided to reduce unnecessary antibiotics and dangerous antibiotic resistance. Pathogens are rarely ever identified in the case of patients with lower respiratory infections, and broad-spectrum antibiotics are the common treatment. This device has the potential to greatly reduce antibiotics and antibiotic resistance by collecting a reliable specimen for rapid, sensitive analysis. Without a reliable specimen, analysis methods cannot provide accurate results. Cough aerosol collection may be the key to help Antibiotic Stewardship programs drastically reduce antibiotics, antibiotic resistance, length of stay, and costs.

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The following have contributed to this page: Sarah Ku