January 29, 2020 9:09 AM

Lung Bacteria Predicts Outcomes in ICU

Findings point to new clinical tool to assess--and perhaps treat—patients.

Image by Stephanie King

The human body is teeming with different populations of bacteria, called microbiomes. Within the few years, scientists have discovered a microbiome within the lungs. In a new paper in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care, U-M researchers led by pulmonologist Robert Dickson, M.D., report that changes to this microbiome can predict how well critically ill patients will respond to care within the ICU. These changes were independent of how severe their illness was or whether they had pneumonia. In particular, two bacteria that are usually in the gut were found in the lungs of patients who did worse. The study hints that changing the lung microbiome might improve patients’ outcomes.

Paper cited: “Lung microbiota predict clinical outcomes in critically ill patients,” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care. DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201907-1487OC