How is the severity of acute bacterial exacerbation of chronic bronchitis (ABECB) determined?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Bacterial pathogens are identified in less than half of all ABECB cases. The Anthonisen Criteria is typically used to qualify severity of acute exacerbations. Three clinical factors are considered: dyspnea, sputum volume, and sputum purulence. Antibiotic treatment is recommended for moderate (2 of 3 symptoms) or severe (all 3 symptoms) exacerbations. Change in sputum color has also been recognized to be a strong predictor of presence of potentially pathologic microorganisms in ABECB. Green and yellow sputum are more likely than white sputum to be culture positive.

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