Please note: While some information will still be current in a year, other information may already be out of date in three months time. If you are in any doubt, please feel free to ask.


How to improve my child's lung functions (from 55% at present) and slow the further damage?
Dear questioner

Thank you for your question.

Lung functions are routinely done in CF. The doctors monitor lung function to look for signs of infection. The main lung function values that are monitored are the FEV1 and the FVC. The FEV1 and its predicted value (written as a percentage for the height, age and gender of the person), monitors the large airways in the lungs, and the FVC monitors the total amount of air in the lungs. The FEV1 and FVC can be lower when there is more sputum in the lungs, when some of the airways in the lungs are not fully open, and when there is progressive damage to the lungs due to repeated infections.
To maintain or improve lung function it is important that a person with CF clears their lungs of sputum regularly. There are a number of different techniques that can be used which a physiotherapist can teach. These include the Active Cycle of Breathing Technique, the PEP mask, the Acapella, the Flutter, or Autogenic drainage.
Aerobic exercise is also important to maintain or improve lung function as it can help open all the airways of the lungs and it also helps loosen secretions in the lungs which can then be cleared from the lungs more easily.
It is important that a person with CF also takes their medicine as prescribed to maintain or improve their lung function. Dnase and hypertonic saline helps thin the sputum making it easier to clear and bronchodilators help open the airways.
The treatment of any person with CF is specific to that person and not all treatment techniques or medicines will suit everyone. Speak to your doctor or physiotherapist for further instructions in relation to your child’s specific needs.

Dr Katherine Lavery
Prof Stuart Elborn