Background: The Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) is one of the most important groups of organisms infecting cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. The aim of the study was to examine how infection with BCC affects clinical outcome.
Methods: Nineteen CF adults infected with BCC and 19 controls infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa were studied over a 4-year period. The best forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) and body mass index (BMI) for each year were recorded and annual rate of decline calculated.
Results: The BCC infected group displayed a significantly greater reduction of FEV(1) and BMI compared to the P. aeruginosa infected group (p=0.001 and p=0.009, respectively). Sixteen patients infected with a single Burkholderia cenocepacia strain had a significantly greater rate of FEV(1) decline compared to those infected with Burkholderia multivorans (n=3) or P. aeruginosa (p=0.01 and p<0.0001, respectively). The rate of BMI decline was significantly greater in patients infected with B. cenocepacia compared to those with P. aeruginosa (p=0.007), but not significantly different in those with B. multivorans (p=0.29).
Conclusion: BCC infection is associated with an accelerated decline in pulmonary function and BMI. Infection with a single B. cenocepacia strain was associated with a more rapid decline in lung function than those infected with either B. multivorans or P. aeruginosa.