"Sustained Improvement in Mucus Clearance and Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis with Hypertonic Saline" will be published in the January 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). This week's NEJM also includes a report by Australian researchers who followed 164 patients receiving a similar treatment for nearly one year, as well as an editorial about the two studies.
NHLBI lung disease experts James Kiley, PhD, director of the Division of Lung Diseases, and Gail Weinmann, MD, director of the Airway Biology and Disease Program, are available to discuss the research findings and the outlook for CF patients. CF is a chronic, progressive, and frequently fatal genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and young adults in the United States. The UNC researchers believe that the concentrated saline increases mucus volume, which helps the airways to clear bacteria and inhaled debris and could limit the number and severity of lung infections. Repeated infections are thought to contribute to lung damage over time. The study results could be particularly important if future research shows that the treatment similarly benefits infants and young children and could ultimately prevent or delay lung damage. Respiratory failure is the most common cause of death in CF patients.
NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal Government's primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NHLBI press releases and fact sheets, including information on cystic fibrosis, is available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.