Background: Several studies have suggested that clinical outcomes in adults with cystic fibrosis (CF) are equivalent after home and hospital treatment with intravenous antibiotics, but these studies were small and selective and only considered one course of treatment.
Methods: A retrospective longitudinal study was performed to compare the clinical outcome over a period of 1 year of all patients attending the Manchester Adult CF Unit who received intravenous antibiotics at home or in hospital. The primary outcome measure was percentage change in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)) at the end of the 1 year period. Baseline "best" and "average" FEV(1) values were established for each patient for the year before the study. The secondary outcome measures were percentage changes in forced vital capacity (FVC) and body weight.
Results: A total of 116 patients received 454 courses of intravenous antibiotics. At the end of 1 year there had been a mean percentage decline in FEV(1) compared with the baseline "average" for patients treated mostly at home but an improvement in patients treated mostly in hospital (Tukey's HSD mean difference 10.1%, 95% CI 2.9 to 17.2, p = 0.003). For all patients there was a mean percentage decline in FEV(1) from the baseline "best" value. For each course of treatment the mean percentage improvements in FEV(1) at the end of the course from the start of the course were significantly higher for patients treated in hospital than for those treated at home.
Conclusions: Clinical outcome, as defined by spirometric parameters and body weight, was better after a course of treatment in hospital than after home treatment, and this benefit was maintained over 1 year of treatment. The results suggest that patients treated at home need closer supervision.