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Cystic Fibrosis

Saline study



Has anything else been said about the saline study that came out a short time ago?


In January of this year two articles were published in The New England Journal of Medicine about the use of hypertonic saline in patients with cystic fibrosis. These studies, one from the United States and one from Australia), both stated that though there was not a significant difference (or improvement) in lung function, there was improvement in mucus clearance and a decrease in pulmonary exacerbations. One study used 7% saline twice a day and the other four times a day. This is an inexpensive but time-consuming treatment.

Obviously, more studies need to be completed; however, many centers have started to use this treatment in patients who have expressed an interest in trying hypertonic saline. Please discuss this type of treatment with your CF physician or nurse, and you may be able to make a better decision if this treatment is for you.

The national CF conference will occur in November of this year, and there are sure to be many presentations with newer data to help us all decide if this treatment has a significant benefit to patients with CF.

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Response by:

Richard D Shell, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University