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Respir Med. 2009 Apr;103(4):629-35. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2008.10.011. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

Growing old with cystic fibrosis - the characteristics of long-term survivors of cystic fibrosis.

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Department of Cystic Fibrosis, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College and Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK.



The proportion of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) who are middle-aged is increasing - and is likely to continue to do so. We surveyed a population of long-term CF survivors to assess their burden of illness and profile their disease characteristics.


A case series (n=112) of patients from one specialist centre who had reached their 40th birthday without transplantation. Hospital records and annual review data were examined.


The median age of the group was 43.1 years (range 40-71.1); 57% were men. 68% were diagnosed before 16 years of age. 30% were DeltaF508/DeltaF508, 76% having at least one DeltaF508 allele. When compared with the total adult CF population, the older patients were significantly less likely to have a DeltaF508 mutation or colonisation with Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and MRSA; but more likely to have pancreatic sufficiency, colonisation with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. On average they required less than one hospital admission a year; lung function and body mass index were relatively well preserved. Many were married and working.


We describe one of the largest surveys to date of CF patients aged more than 40 years. The full spectrum of disease is represented in this population and, importantly, 30% are DeltaF508 homozygous. Provision needs to be made for the healthcare needs of this increasing population of older patients.

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