The results of a new study indicate that saliva may be a reliable bio-sample in the monitoring of patients with COPD and exacerbation management.

“As disease management shifts increasingly toward point-of-care, there is urgency to develop easier, less stressful sampling methods especially for monitoring chronic conditions,” Neil Patel, MD, of the department of respiratory medicine at University Hospitals of North Midlands in the United Kingdom, and colleagues wrote. “Whilst a validated [C-reactive protein (CRP)] saliva-based assay is available, we have also demonstrated that modifications of existing body-fluid assays provides reproducible results for saliva.”

From January 2010 to March 2012, Patel and colleagues measured the salivary CRP, procalcitonin (PCT) and neutrophil elastase (NE) in 143 participants to determine whether these levels could be measured in unstimulated whole saliva, and to explore differences between patients with COPD and controls with normal lung function.

The participants included 20 non-smokers and 25 smokers with normal spirometry, as well as 98 patients with COPD.

The researchers monitored participants during three visits over 14 days. At each visit, the researchers recorded Medical Research Council dyspnea score and performed spirometry and collected unstimulated whole saliva.

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