Background: Cystic fibrosis (CF) may strongly condition the life of affected people. CF may be associated with relevant painful conditions caused by complications of the illness and also by therapy itself, which may represent an additional load of suffering. This study was aimed at evaluating the prevalence of pain symptoms in adult CF patients, if they are noticed and treated, and the influence of pain symptoms on patients' life.
Method: Using a questionnaire, we examined 239 adults with CF (17% of the whole Italian adult CF population).
Results: We found a high prevalence of painful episodes among CF adult patients, as for both intensity and frequency. In a 2 months period 32.6% of patients experienced episodes of pain described as intense to severe, and 29.7% had more than 10 occurrences of pain in the same location. Headache, gastric pain and backache were the most frequently reported kind of pain. 59.8% of subjects perceived pain episodes as the cause of unfavorable effects on their life. Only 42.6% of those with pain asked a CF center physician for help and another 3.5% a general practitioner.
Conclusion: Painful symptoms can be the cause of a worsening of the quality of life for adults with CF; the relevance of pain in CF adult patients may often be underestimated; the assessment of pain should be routinely performed as a part of care in CF centers.