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Although the debate on the role of bacterial infections and antibiotic treatment in AE-COPD remains open, there is evidence that the persistence of bacteria after acute exacerbation (residual bacterial colony) influences the frequency and severity of subsequent acute exacerbation and that antibiotic treatment that induces faster and more complete eradication produces better clinical outcomes. New aspects must now be considered, given that COPD is a chronic illness subject to acute exacerbations of varying frequencies and that acute exacerbations correspond to functional respiratory deterioration. One of the parameters that is currently acquiring clinical relevance is the interval free of infection (IFI), the period that elapses between one acute exacerbation and the next, caused by bacterial infection. Another guiding concept in the choice of antibiotic treatment is that not all patients benefit in the same way; those requiring more aggressive treatment are most likely to be those with FEV1 < 50%, frequent exacerbations (> 3/year) treated with antibiotics, relevant co-morbidity, under chronic steroid treatment, etc., for these patients it is recommended to administer antibiotics active on the three most common pathogens (in particular H. influenzae), considering the resistance acquired in recent years, and on Pseudomomias aeruginosa.
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