Gender differences in the Scandinavian cystic fibrosis population

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2010 Oct;45(10):959-65. doi: 10.1002/ppul.21265.


Aims: To explore whether gender differences in the Scandinavian Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients exist in the areas of key clinical parameters, complications, and medication.

Methods: Cross-sectional data on 890 (416 female) pancreatic insufficient CF patients were evaluated regarding chronic infection, body mass index, lung function, medication, and diabetes, as well as data of Pseudomonas infection status, antibiotic treatment and hospitalization from 1-year follow-up.

Results: We found no differences in lung function, body mass index, or frequency of diabetes. The adult group consisted of more males than females (208:168). We found no significant difference in prevalence of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, but during the follow-up the incidence of new chronic infection was higher in adult females (10/33 vs. 4/56). Females had higher prevalence of Burkholderia infection (21/416 vs. 11/474). Adult females had more days on intravenous antibiotics (median 39 vs. 26 days/year), and days in hospital (median 2 vs. 0 days/year). More adult females received inhaled and oral steroids. In the pediatric cohort, females were treated more often with macrolides as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Conclusion: We found no gender difference in key clinical parameters in our CF population. However, our study showed a higher risk of Pseudomonas and Burkholderia infection among the female patients. Additionally, we found that female patients require more intensified treatment regarding antibiotics, macrolides, steroids and days of hospitalization, indicating a true female disadvantage even with modern aggressive treatment. The finding of more males than females in the adult population suggesting a male advantage, warrants a mortality study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology*
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors