Background: Aerosolized recombinant human deoxyribonuclease (rhDNase I (Pulmozyme)) has previously been shown to increase pulmonary function and reduce exacerbations of respiratory symptoms in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with moderate to severe reduction in pulmonary function.
Aim: To analyse whether aerosolized Pulmozyme could reduce the number of bacterial infections in the lower respiratory airways of CF patients without chronic pulmonary infection.
Methods: Patients were randomized either to aerosolized Pulmozyme 2(1/2) mg once daily or to no rhDNase treatment. The study period was 1 y, and the study was blinded for the Department of Clinical Microbiology.
Results: Overall, the number of positive cultures was significantly higher in the untreated group (82%) compared with the treated group (72%) (p<0.05). The most striking difference was found for Staphylococcus aureus, with a prevalence of 30% in the untreated group compared with 16% in the treated group (chi2 test, p<0.0001). Pulmonary function (FEV1) in the treated group showed a significant increase of 7.3% compared to 0.9% in the untreated group (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Long-term DNase treatment was beneficial to CF patients without chronic lower respiratory tract infection, leading to reduced demand for antibiotics and to improved lung function.