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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2015, Article ID 378967, 3 pages
Research Article

Remarkably Few Sputum Cultures from People with Parkinson’s Disease during Hospital In-Patient Admission

1Department of Medicine, North Tyneside General Hospital, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE29 8NH, UK
2Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4AX, UK
3The Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK
4Hospital Jitra, Jalan Changlun, 06000 Jitra, Kedah, Malaysia

Received 17 October 2014; Revised 22 January 2015; Accepted 22 January 2015

Academic Editor: Hélio Teive

Copyright © 2015 Richard W. Walker et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although respiratory tract infections can be a common complication in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), there is little published data on the nature of such infections in this patient group. We wished to investigate whether sputum samples were being taken from PD patients in order to establish whether an infection was present and if so which bacteria were responsible for the infection. We recorded the number of positive sputum samples taken from admission to North Tyneside General Hospital in North-East England across a ten-year period from June 2001 to June 2011. Of 643 in-patient episodes involving people with PD, positive sputum samples were recorded for only 12 episodes (1.9%) in eight patients. All patients were in early stage disease. In all admissions to the NHS Trust running the hospital, there were 23,069 sputum cultures from 1,056,693 in-patient episodes (2.2%). Our findings may reflect the difficultly of expectorating in many people with PD, particularly in late-stage disease. Since people with PD are especially vulnerable to respiratory tract infections, clinicians need to ensure that, where possible, a sputum sample is obtained from people with PD when clinically indicated.