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J Pediatr. 1986 Nov;109(5):788-94.

Nutritional rehabilitation in cystic fibrosis: controlled studies of effects on nutritional growth retardation, body protein turnover, and course of pulmonary disease.


The effects of a sustained increase in energy and protein intake on weight gain, growth, body protein metabolism, and the course of pulmonary disease were studied in 10 undernourished patients with cystic fibrosis unable to maintain nutrition and growth by the oral route and with declining nutritional and pulmonary status in the year prior to study. A 1-year course of nutrient supplementation using a semielemental high-nitrogen formula was delivered by nocturnal intragastric feeding or as an orally administered supplement; progress was compared with that of 14 height-, sex- and FEV1-matched patients with cystic fibrosis receiving conventional therapy. Supplementation resulted in a catch-up weight gain and sustained improvement in linear growth, with fewer pulmonary infections per year than during the initial observation period. Better weight gain and linear growth than in the comparison group were observed, as well as a significant reversal of the trend for deteriorating lung function. Compared with data from healthy children, 15N-glycine kinetics demonstrated increased protein breakdown and negligible net protein deposition in the treatment group prior to supplementation. After supplementation, synthesis in excess of breakdown, with net protein accretion, occurred by 1 month of supplementation. By 6 to 12 months a significant reduction in the previously high rate of mean synthesis and breakdown was observed, with maintenance of net anabolism. These dynamic changes in whole-body protein turnover reflect a long-term improvement in energy and protein intake, which can favorably affect nutrition, growth, and the course of pulmonary disease in problem cases of cystic fibrosis.

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