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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1988;5(1):15-8.

Infants with cystic fibrosis: pulmonary function at diagnosis.

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Department of Pediatrics, James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, Indiana University Medical School, Indianapolis 46223.


Meconium ileus (MEC), failure to thrive (FTT), and a combination of FTT and pulmonary symptoms (COMB) are the most frequent symptoms of cystic fibrosis (CF) at the time of diagnosis. The purpose of this study was to compare to normal controls (NC) the pulmonary function of CF infants at the time of diagnosis, when grouped by these symptoms. The measurements of pulmonary function included oxygen saturation (SaO2), functional residual capacity (FRC), mixing index (MI), total respiratory system compliance (Crs), and maximal flow at FRC (VmaxFRC). Compared to NC (n = 33), the MEC group (n = 5) had a higher MI (54 vs. 42%) and no difference in SaO2, Crs or VmaxFRC. There were no significant differences between FTT (n = 8) and NC groups although there was a tendency for Crs to be lower in the FTT group (5.1 vs. 6.8 ml/cm H2O). When compared to all other groups, the COMB group (n = 11) had significantly lower SaO2, MI, Crs, and VmaxFRC. The normal lung function in the MEC group is consistent with the normal anatomy reported in CF infants dying secondary to meconium ileus. Longitudinal evaluation of the infants in this study, following initiation of care as patients with a diagnosis of CF, may allow us to determine whether symptoms at diagnosis remain an important determinant of lung function in infancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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