Background: Data from the Belgian Cystic Fibrosis Registry consistently show that in one of the seven reference centres, the prevalence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is half that observed at the national level.
Objectives: To report the characteristics of non-transplanted patients in this clinic at the end of 2003, with special focus on paediatric patients. To describe and discuss our policy of inhaled antibiotic therapy.
Findings: The prevalence of P. aeruginosa among 116 patients is 20.7%. The chronic colonization rate is 19.8% but only 2.8% in patients aged under 18 (n=72). Serologic data strongly support these results. Most paediatric patients (95%) are prescribed inhaled antibiotics, at least on an intermittent basis but the mean number of days of intravenous antibiotic treatment is four times lower than in other CF children in Belgium. 70% of children have an FEV1> or =90% predicted.
Discussion: We have reported a distinctly low rate of chronic colonization by P. aeruginosa in a cohort of CF children and suspect that a strategy of early, often <<prophylactic>> use of inhaled antibiotics, progressively implemented for over 15 years has substantially contributed to these results. Given the major impact of chronic P. aeruginosa colonization on prognosis in CF, it is suggested that a large prospective study of this approach is warranted.