Cystic Fibrosis Center

Focused care

Children with cystic fibrosis are urged to visit an accredited care center four times a year for visits which include evaluations with a physician, respiratory therapist, nutritionist and social worker. Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s earned accreditation makes it easier for patients to make those visits.

The Driscoll Children’s Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Center houses an experienced team of physicians, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists and social workers ready to give patients the highest quality care available.

What is cystic fibrosis (CF)?

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic, genetic disease that affects about 30,000 people in the United States, and 70,000 people worldwide. The defective gene found in CF patients causes the body to make thick mucus that can clog the lungs and lead to infection. It may also block the pancreas and keep natural enzymes from helping the body digest and absorb food.

What may my child experience if he or she has CF?

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Frequent cough and increased lung mucus
  • Multiple episodes of bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Nasal polyps and frequent sinus infections
  • Slow weight gain or weight loss, even with a healthy appetite
  • Abnormal or frequent bowel movements
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Enlargement of the fingertips and toes (clubbing)
  • Rapid dehydration and heat stroke
  • Fertility issues

What kind of treatment is available for my child?

Airway Clearance Technique (ACT):
Helps loosen the thick mucus in the lungs and improve lung function

Inhaled medications:
Given by aerosol or by a metered dose inhaler (MDI) and used with ACT to help clear mucus from the lungs

Antibiotics:
Medications that stop infection-causing bacteria and can be given orally, through an IV or by aerosol

Pancreatic enzymes:
These help to digest food and replace natural enzymes that are not able to get through the blocked pancreatic ducts. Enzymes come in capsules and are taken orally before meals and after snacks.

Exercise treatment:
Range of motion, strength, posture and endurance.