Objectives: To assess the effect on clinical outcome of managing paediatric and adult patients with cystic fibrosis at specialised cystic fibrosis centres.
Design: Cross sectional study.
Setting: Two adult cystic fibrosis centres in the United Kingdom.
Subjects: Patients from an adult cystic fibrosis centre in Manchester were subdivided into those who had received continuous care from paediatric and adult cystic fibrosis centres (group A), and those who had received paediatric care in a centre not specialising in cystic fibrosis followed by adult care in a cystic fibrosis centre (group B). Group C were referrals to the new adult cystic fibrosis centre in Cambridge who had received neither paediatric nor adult centre care for their cystic fibrosis.
Main outcome measures: Body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m2)), lung function (forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1 percentage of predicted)), the Northern chest x ray film score, and age at colonisation with Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Results: A prominent stepwise increase in body mass index was associated with increasing amounts of care at a cystic fibrosis centre; 18.3, 20.2, and 21.3 for groups C, B, and A respectively (P<0.001). Improved nutritional status was correlated with a higher FEV1 and better (lower) chest x ray film scores; r=0. 52 and -0.45 respectively (P<0.001 for both).
Conclusion: These findings provide the first direct evidence that management of cystic fibrosis in paediatric and adult cystic fibrosis centres results in a better clinical outcome, and strongly supports the provision of these specialist services.