The clinical relevance of specimens from the lower airways is often debatable. However, they are most commonly examined for diagnosing lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs).
This study aimed to determine the diagnostic value of sputum quality assessment about sputum culture for diagnosing LRTIs in children.
In six months, a total of 1485 sputum samples were quality assessed by using Bartlett’s grading system. All samples, regardless of their quality, were cultured, identified, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by Kirby-Bauer disc-diffusion method.
Among the acceptable category, defined by Bartlett’s grading system, 132 (63.2%) samples showed culture positivity of which Streptococcus pneumoniae 48 (36.4%) was most commonly isolated, followed by Moraxella catarrhalis 22 (16.7%) and Haemophilus influenza 21 (15.9%). Among the non-acceptable category, 185 (14.5%) samples were culture positive of which most commonly isolated were Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa with 64 (34.6%), 54 (29.2%) and 28 (15.1%), respectively.
Sputum quality assessment is a useful tool for distinguishing the true respiratory pathogens from possible colonising flora for which antibiotic treatment should not be highly considered.