Background: We examined the year-to-year change in FEV(1) for individuals and the overall cystic fibrosis population to better understand how individual trends may differ from population trends.
Methods: We calculated individual yearly changes using the largest annual FEV(1) percent predicted (FEV(1)%) measurement in 20,644 patients (6-45years old) included in the Epidemiologic Study of Cystic Fibrosis. We calculated yearly population changes using age-specific medians.
Results: FEV(1)% predicted decreased 1-3 points per year for individuals, with maximal decreases in 14-15year olds. Population changes agreed with individual changes up to age 15; however after age 30, yearly population change approximated zero while individual FEV(1)% predicted decreases were 1-2 points per year.
Conclusions: Adolescents have the greatest FEV(1)% predicted decreases; however, loss of FEV(1) is a persistent risk in 6-45year old CF patients. Recognizing individual year-to-year changes may improve patient-specific care and may suggest new methods for measuring program quality.
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