Nocardia colonization: A risk factor for lung deterioration in cystic fibrosis patients?

Adi Dagan, Nathan Keller, Daphna Vilozni, Reut Ramon-Saraf, Bat El Bar, Ifat Sarouk, Moshe Ashkenazi, Moran Lavie, Ori Efrati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients are predisposed to infection and colonization with different microbes. Some cause deterioration of lung functions, while others are colonizers without clear pathogenic effects. Our aim was to understand the effects of Nocardia species in sputum cultures on the course of lung disease in CF patients. Material/Methods: A retrospective study analyzing the impact of positive Nocardia spp. in sputum of 19 CF patients over a period of 10 years, comparing them with similar status patients without Nocardia growth. Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are used as indicators of lung disease severity and decline rate in functions per year is calculated. Results: No significant difference in PFTs of CF patients with positive Nocardia in sputum was found in different subgroups according to number of episodes of growth, background variables, or treatment plans. The yearly decline in PFTs was similar to that recognized in CF patients. The control group patients showed similar background data. However, a small difference was found in the rate of decline of their PFTs, which implies a possibly slower rate of progression of lung disease. Conclusions: The prognosis of lung disease in CF patients colonized with Nocardia does not seem to differ based on the persistence of growth on cultures, different treatment plans or risk factors. Apparently, Nocardia does not cause a deterioration of lung functions with time. However, it may show a trend to faster decline in PFTs compared to similar status CF patients without isolation of this microorganism in their sputum.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA263
Pages (from-to)1889-1894
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Science Monitor
StatePublished - 2015


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lung diseases
  • Nocardia
  • Respiratory function tests


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