The composition of the airway microbiome in patients with chronic airway diseases, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis (CF), has the potential to inform a precision model of clinical care. Patients with these conditions share overlapping disease characteristics, including airway inflammation and airflow limitation. The clinical management of chronic respiratory conditions is increasingly moving away from a one-size-fits-all model based on primary diagnosis, towards care targeting individual disease traits, and is particularly useful for subgroups of patients who respond poorly to conventional therapies. Respiratory microbiome analysis is an important potential contributor to such a ‘treatable traits’ approach, providing insight into both microbial drivers of airways disease, and the selective characteristics of the changing lower airway environment. We explore the potential to integrate respiratory microbiome analysis into a treatable traits model of clinical care and provide a practical guide to the application and clinical interpretation of respiratory microbiome analysis.
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- cystic fibrosis