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Eur J Pediatr. 2008 Mar;167(3):299-304. Epub 2007 Apr 14.

Nanoduct sweat testing for rapid diagnosis in newborns, infants and children with cystic fibrosis.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.


Determination of chloride concentration in sweat is the current diagnostic gold standard for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Nanoduct is a new analyzing system measuring conductivity which requires only 3 microliters of sweat and gives results within 30 minutes. The aim of the study was to evaluate the applicability of this system in a clinical setting of three children's hospitals and borderline results were compared with sweat chloride concentration. Over 3 years, 1,041 subjects were tested and in 946 diagnostic results were obtained. In 95 children, Nanoduct failed (9.1% failure rate), mainly due to failures in preterm babies and newborns. Assuming 59 mmol/L as an upper limit of normal conductivity, all our 46 CF patients were correctly diagnosed (sensitivity 100%, 95% CI: 93.1-100; negative predicted value 100% (95% CI: 99.6-100) and only 39 non CF's were false positive (39/900, 4.3%; specificity 95.7%, 95%CI: 94.2-96.9, positive predicted value 54.1% with a 95%CI: 43.4-65.0). Increasing the diagnostic limit to 80 mmol/L, the rate fell to 0.3% (3/900). CF patients had a median conductivity of 115 mmol/L; the non-CF a median of 37 mmol/L. In conclusion, the Nanoduct test is a reliable diagnostic tool for CF diagnosis: It has a failure rate comparable to other sweat tests and can be used as a simple bedside test for fast and reliable exclusion, diagnosis or suspicion of CF. In cases with borderline conductivity (60-80 mmol/L) other additional methods (determination of chloride and genotyping) are indicated.

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