Background: Ivacaftor acts as a potentiator of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and increases the transepithelial chloride transport of CFTR in 9 of 10 known gating mutations causing cystic fibrosis. S549R is a rare gating mutation considered to be less sensitive to potentiators than all other gating mutations.
Case presentation: We report our first experience with ivacaftor in an 8-year-old boy with the rare S549R gating mutation. Besides subjective clinical improvements, the sweat chloride level and the lung clearance index decreased impressively within a few weeks of treatment while forced expiratory volume in the first second values remained in normal range.
Conclusion: We emphasize the value of measuring small airway function by lung clearance index as an outcome measure for new interventions targeting the correction of the CFTR defect at an age before traditional lung function parameters start to deteriorate.