Objective: To inform the development of Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation guidelines on the care of infants with CF, we systematically reviewed the evidence for diagnosis and assessment of pancreatic and pulmonary disorders; management of pancreatic and pulmonary function; management of nutrition and nutritional disorders; and prevention and control of infections.
Study design: In May-June 2008, we searched The Cochrane Library for existing reviews; and MEDLINE, the National Guideline Clearinghouse, the CF Foundation Clinical Practice Guidelines and Consensus Statements, and the UK CF Trust for existing guidelines. MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and the Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE) were searched for primary studies in January 2008. Bibliographies of eligible articles were searched and expert input was sought. We selected English-language articles of any study design that provided original data on any of our questions on infants up to 2 years of age.
Results: We identified 14 relevant guidelines and 3 Cochrane reviews. Fifty-nine articles (55 primary studies) were included. Only four of these were randomized controlled trials. Sample sizes of infants ranged from 2 to 768 study participants; the median sample size was 24. Of our 21 review topics, 5 topics had only one study while for 5 we identified no relevant studies. We identified one or no primary studies for 20 of 32 review questions.
Conclusions: There is a paucity of evidence on the care of infants diagnosed with CF. For several of the review questions no guidelines or primary studies were identified, but for other questions, studies limited by weak design and small sample sizes were the only studies identified. With increasing numbers of infants with CF being diagnosed by newborn screening there is an opportunity to study the management of infants diagnosed with CF.