Methods: 14 patients with cystic fibrosis and chronic pulmonary pseudomonas infection received four courses of two-week intravenous antibiotic therapy at home and during hospitalisation over an 18-month period. Following a controlled, intra-individual cross-over design, two courses of home therapy were followed by two courses of hospital treatment or vice versa. Parameters for inflammation, lung function, and body mass index were obtained at the beginning and end of each intravenous antibiotic therapy. Health-related quality of life, i.e. physical, emotional, social and functional components as well as happiness and medical care, was assessed at the end of each course.
Results: There was a trend towards better reduction of infection (p = 0.20 for leukocyte reduction) and improvement of lung function (p = 0.20 for FEV1 improvement) with hospital intravenous antibiotic therapy, although the differences did not attain statistical significance. Quality of life during therapy was significantly higher with home therapy regarding social (p < 0.01), functional and emotional subscales and happiness (all p < 0.05). The necessity for professional help and support from family and/or partner was emphasised. Individual answers showed that home therapy has the advantage of self-determination and continuity of daily life. Parents and partners felt impaired by day and night intravenous therapy at home.
Conclusion: From our data we conclude that home intravenous antibiotic therapy is a useful option for a selected subgroup of patients with cystic fibrosis, but professional support and family aid is important to gain an effect similar to hospital treatment.