Newborn babies positively screened for cystic fibrosis (CF) (high serum immunoreactive trypsin (IRT) with DNA analysis) are referred for a diagnostic sweat test, which may be normal (sweat chloride <30 mmol/L). Unless two gene mutations are identified during Newborn screening (NBS), the babies are discharged from follow-up. We wished to check that none had subsequently developed symptoms suggestive of CF. We retrospectively reviewed patient notes and contacted general practitioners of all babies with a negative sweat test, conducted in one of the four paediatric specialist CF centres in London, over the first 6 years of screening in South East England.
Of 511 babies referred, 95 (19%) had a normal sweat test. Five (5%) had CF diagnosed genetically, two of them on extended genome sequencing after clinical suspicion. Eleven (12%) were designated as CF screen positive inconclusive diagnosis (CFSPID); one of the five CF children was originally designated as CFSPID. Seventy-nine (83%) were assumed to be false-positive cases and discharged; follow-up data were available for 51/79 (65%); 32/51 (63%) had no health issues, 19/51 (37%) had other significant non-CF pathology.
These results are reassuring in that within the limitations of those lost to follow-up, CF symptoms have not emerged in the discharged children. The high non-CF morbidity in these children may relate to known causes of high IRT at birth. Clinicians need to be aware that a child can have CF despite a normal sweat test following NBS, and if symptoms suggest the diagnosis, further testing, including extended genome sequencing, is required.
- cystic fibrosis
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.