Objectives: To determine whether the airway structure of infants and young children with cystic fibrosis (CF) differs from that of normal children by using high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) imaging. Study design Full-inflation, controlled ventilation HRCT images of the lungs were obtained at four anatomic levels in 34 infants with CF (age, 2.4+/-1.4 years) and 20 control infants (age, 1.8+/-1.4 years). Short axis diameters of all clearly identifiable, round airway/vessel pairs were measured to obtain airway wall thickness (AWT), airway lumen diameter (ALD), and vessel diameter (VD).
Results: In infants with CF, mean AWT (+/-SD) was 0.58+/-0.13 mm, ALD was 1.31+/-0.56 mm, and VD was 1.62+/-0.58 mm. In control infants, mean AWT was 0.49+/-0.13 mm, ALD was 1.07+/-0.42 mm, and VD was 1.86+/-0.64 mm. Mean AWT and ALD were greater in children with CF than in normal subjects (P<.001). ALD:VD ratios increased with age in patients with CF compared with control subjects (P=.026).
Conclusions: The airways of infants and young children with CF have thicker walls and are more dilated than those of normal infants.