Assessment of airway neutrophils by sputum colour: correlation with airways inflammation

Robert Stockley, Darren Bayley, S Hill, Adam Hill, S Crooks, EJ Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Airway inflammation, with recruitment of neutrophils to the airway lumen, results in purulent secretions and a variety of potential adverse consequences for patients with chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis. We hypothesised that gradations of sputum colour would correlate directly with the myeloperoxidase content of sputum and with various other indicators of the activity and consequences of bronchial diseases. METHODS: To test this hypothesis, we quantified sputum colour by reference to a sensitive nine point colour chart and correlated this assessment with indices of a number of inflammatory mediators in sputum. RESULTS: The results indicate that standardised visual measurements of sputum colour correlated strongly with myeloperoxidase, interleukin 8, leucocyte elastase (both activity and total quantity), sputum volume, protein leak, and secretory leucocyte proteinase inhibitor (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-372
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2001


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