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Treatment Shows Long-term Benefits For Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Date:
January 23, 2006
Source:
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Summary:
New research suggests that inhaling hypertonic saline, a water-based concentrated salt solution, could provide long-term benefits for lung health in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Researchers tested the effects of inhaling the saline four times daily for 14 days in 24 patients with CF. The treatment significantly improved mucus clearance, lung function, and breathing symptoms. The journal also includes a report by Australian researchers about a larger, longer study, as well as an editorial.

New research suggests that inhaling hypertonic saline, a water-based concentrated salt solution, could provide long-term benefits for lung health in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill tested the effects of inhaling the saline four times daily for 14 days in 24 older patients with CF (ages 14 years or older). The treatment significantly improved mucus clearance, lung function, and breathing symptoms. If confirmed, the findings could lead to a new and inexpensive treatment for CF. The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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"Sustained Improvement in Mucus Clearance and Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis with Hypertonic Saline" will be published in the January 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). This week's NEJM also includes a report by Australian researchers who followed 164 patients receiving a similar treatment for nearly one year, as well as an editorial about the two studies.

CF is a chronic, progressive, and frequently fatal genetic disease that affects about 30,000 children and young adults in the United States. The UNC researchers believe that the concentrated saline increases mucus volume, which helps the airways to clear bacteria and inhaled debris and could limit the number and severity of lung infections. Repeated infections are thought to contribute to lung damage over time. The study results could be particularly important if future research shows that the treatment similarly benefits infants and young children and could ultimately prevent or delay lung damage. Respiratory failure is the most common cause of death in CF patients.

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NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Federal Government's primary agency for biomedical and behavioral research. NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NHLBI press releases and fact sheets, including information on cystic fibrosis, is available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.


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The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "Treatment Shows Long-term Benefits For Cystic Fibrosis Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060123123231.htm>.
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2006, January 23). Treatment Shows Long-term Benefits For Cystic Fibrosis Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060123123231.htm
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "Treatment Shows Long-term Benefits For Cystic Fibrosis Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060123123231.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

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