Antibiotic treatment of initial colonization with Pseudomonas aeruginosa postpones chronic infection and prevents deterioration of pulmonary function in cystic fibrosis

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1997 May;23(5):330-5. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0496(199705)23:5<330::aid-ppul4>;2-o.


Chronic pulmonary infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) develops in most patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) and is associated with a poor prognosis. Much effort has been directed toward treating the chronic infection, but it is almost impossible to eradicate it once established; therefore, prevention is preferable. Since 1989 CF patients at the Danish CF Center in Copenhagen have been treated with an intensive three-step-protocol consisting of colistin inhalations and oral ciprofloxacin at the time of initial PA colonization. This study compares 48 patients treated according to this intensive protocol with 43 historic controls. The study was carried out over 44 months and included 218 patient-years. Only 16% of the treated patients developed chronic PA infection after 3 1/2 years compared with 72% of the control patients (Kaplan Meier estimate, P < 0.005, log rank test). This indicates that aggressive treatment prevented or delayed chronic PA infection in 78% of the patients for 3 1/2 years. Furthermore, aggressive treatment maintained or increased pulmonary function (forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 second in percent of predicted values) during the year after inclusion compared with the control group, in which pulmonary function declined (P < 0.01, Mann-Whitney test). Although some of the treated patients eventually developed chronic PA infection, these patients had significantly better pulmonary function at the onset of chronic PA infection compared with control patients (P < 0.001, Mann-Whitney test). When the different steps in the intensive three-step-protocol were analyzed, there was a trend suggesting that 3 months of high-dose treatment with colistin inhalation and oral ciprofloxacin produced the best results in terms of postponement or prevention of chronic PA infection (P < 0.05).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carrier State / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use*
  • Colistin / therapeutic use*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Pseudomonas Infections / etiology
  • Pseudomonas Infections / prevention & control*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Vital Capacity


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Colistin