Chlamydia pneumoniae: An Important Pathogen in Chronic Bronchitis

  • J. Lorenz


Chronic bronchitis (CB) refers to the presence of chronic cough and recurrent increases in bronchial secretions sufficient to cause expectoration. It is clinically defined by international consensus as production of sputum on most days for a minimum of 3 months a year for at least 2 successive years that cannot be attributed to other pulmonary or cardiac causes [1, 2]. CB can occur with or without airflow limitation. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disorder that is characterized by the presence of airflow obstruction due to CB or pulmonary emphysema [3]. The obstruction is dominant during expiration and is generally at best partially reversible. Reduced expiratory airflow and slow forced emptying of the lung are persistent and typically show progressive deterioration with age. CB is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in adults, especially in males. In 1978, about 20% of the male working population in Germany fulfilled the diagnostic criteria [4]. In 1970, 10% of German adults over 50 years suffered from CB with chronic airflow obstruction [5]. In western developed countries COPD ranks among the three or four leading causes of death. In 1983 death rates of adults aged 55–65 in Europe and North American countries due to COPD were 17-90/100000 males and 7-30/100000 females [6]. Between 1966 and 1989 the age-adjusted death rates for COPD rose 71% in the USA [7]. Median survival of 62-year-old patients with COPD was 8 years, against 14 years in healthy subjects of the same age [8]. The observed development in morbidity and mortality appears to be related to trends in cigarette smoking in the decades before.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patient Acute Exacerbation Chronic Bronchitis Acute Bronchitis 


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© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1999

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  • J. Lorenz

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