Objective: To determine if sputum colonization with Aspergillus species in patients with cystic fibrosis (PWCF) correlates with radiological abnormalities and/or a reduction in pulmonary function (FEV1).
Methods: We prospectively evaluated 32 PWCF utilizing high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the thorax and pulmonary function testing (PFT). The cohort was assessed as two groups: Aspergillus positive (n=16) and Aspergillus negative (n=16) based on sputum culture for Aspergillus species. A modified Bhalla scoring system was applied to each HRCT scan by two blinded radiologists.
Results: Aspergillus positive patients had more severe and significant bronchiectasis compared to those Aspergillus negative (p<0.05). This was most marked in the right upper and lower lobes (RUL, RLL). Total Bhalla score was clinically significant in both groups and approached statistical significance between groups (p=0.063). No difference in pulmonary function between the groups was detected.
Conclusion: PWCF colonized by Aspergillus species have greater radiological abnormalities undetectable by PFTs. Early radiological evaluation of Aspergillus colonized PWCF is therefore warranted.
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