Nasal potential difference: a clinical diagnostic test for cystic fibrosis

Eur Respir J. 1990 Sep;3(8):922-6.


Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) demonstrate a markedly more negative potential difference (PD) across respiratory epithelia than normal or "diseased" controls. A technique is described for the measurement of nasal PD in both children and adults. 145 non-CF subjects showed a mean PD of -19.0 mV (range -2 to -36) in comparison to 60 patients with cystic fibrosis with mean of -46.0 mV (range -32 to -77). Amongst the latter group those with more severe disease had a more negative PD. Measurement of nasal PD is easily learnt and rapidly performed and may provide an additional means of diagnosis for CF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Microelectrodes
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / physiopathology*
  • Sputum