The aim was to investigate pulmonary mechanics in patients with cystic fibrosis during infancy and again in early childhood to see whether infant tests predicted status at school age. Plethysmographic measurements of thoracic gas volume and airways resistance were made in 29 patients at 6 months and again at 5 years 10 months. Maximum flow at functional residual capacity was measured during infancy for comparison with maximum expiratory flow rates during childhood. While many patients had normal measurements during infancy, pulmonary function had deteriorated by school age. Thoracic gas volume at school age was significantly related to the values in infancy, but other measurements made during childhood were independent of infant values. The relations between measurements in infancy and early childhood described here provide a background against which the role of external factors on pulmonary function in young children with cystic fibrosis can be investigated.
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