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symptoms of cf

Is it readily identifiable at birth?
Yes CF is readily identifiable at birth. Babies are screened for cystic fibrosis at birth as part of the NHS newborn screening programme in Uk and also in other countries. A small amount of the baby's blood is taken by a heel prick and transferred onto a card. The blood sample on the card is then analysed in the laboratory for cystic fibrosis. A Sweat test can also be conducted to confirm diagnosis. If someone has cystic fibrosis, his sweat will have higher levels of salt than normal. A sweat test measures the amount of salt in sweat. It is usually done by applying a very weak and painless electric current to a small area of skin to which a harmless chemical has been applied. This causes that area of skin to sweat. A sample of the sweat is then collected and analysed. If the salt content in the sweat is abnormally high, this confirms cystic fibrosis. A sweat test may be carried out if: newborn screening tests are abnormal or if a child has symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Sweat tests are performed in a standardized way measure the chloride concentration in the sweat. The following standardized reference values are often used to indicate diagnosis of CF: chloride concentration 0-40 mmol/l normal, 40-60mmol/l borderline and over 60 mmol/l pathological. For children under the age of 6 months, the following values pertain: 0-30 mmol/l normal, 30-60mmol/l borderline and over 60 mmol/l pathological. Genetic mutation analysis can also be performed. There are numerous documents available on the UK CF Trust or CF Foundation websites that help explain the diagnosis of CF. If you have specific queries then you should also speak to your local doctor who will explain the process for diagnosis for you.

Best Regards

Judy Bradley
The answer is edited by: Prof Judy Bradley