Background: Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (SM) is a Gram-negative non-fermenting bacteria cultured from the sputum of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). To date, no information is available regarding the effect of this organism on lung function in CF.
Methods: A cohort study was conducted to assess the effect of SM on lung function among CF patients aged > or =6 years in the CF Foundation National Patient Registry from 1994 to 1999. Repeated measures regression was used to assess the association between SM and lung function.
Results: The cohort consisted of 20 755 patients with median age at entry of 13.8 years and median follow up time of 3.8 years; 2739 patients (13%) were positive at least once for SM and 18 016 (87%) were never positive. After adjusting for sex, height and age, patients with SM had a mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second which was 0.09 l less (95% CI 0.05 to 0.14) than those without SM. The mean rate of decline associated with SM positivity was 0.025 l/year (95% CI 0.012 to 0.037) but, after adjusting for confounders (sex, height, weight, intravenous antibiotic courses, hospital admissions, pancreatic insufficiency, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia status), the mean rate of decline decreased to 0.008 l/year (-0.008, 95% CI -0.019 to 0.003).
Conclusions: Although CF patients with SM have worse lung function at the time of positivity, no association was found between SM and increased rate of decline after controlling for confounders.