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Patterns of lung and heart growth as determined from serial radiographs of 76 children with cystic fibrosis
  1. Margaret B. Mearns,
  2. G. Simon
  1. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children, London E2
  2. Institute of Diseases of the Chest, London SW3


    Mearns, M.B., and Simon, G. (1973).Thorax, 28, 537-546. Patterns of lung and heart growth as determined from serial radiographs of 76 children with cystic fibrosis. Chest radiographs of 76 children with cystic fibrosis were taken each year to determine lung length, lung width, and heart diameter. These measurements were plotted on standard charts against age and studied in relation to the initial clinical status. The changes in the pattern of growth which occurred during a follow-up period of 4 to 9 years (average 7 years) were considered in relation to clinical changes and change in ventilatory capacity.

    It was found that at 6 years of age the majority of patients had a lung width greater and heart diameter smaller than might have been expected. During the follow-up a decrease in lung width occurred without a proportionate increase in lung length. The lateral view radiographs did not show flattening of the diaphragm, and in the majority no other changes were found which would suggest marked overdistension of the lungs or increase in AP diameter.

    One group of patients was found not to be increasing vital capacity with increasing height, although they did not demonstrate the clinical findings usually associated with progression of the pulmonary infection in cystic fibrosis. The lung measurement showed a greater decrease in lung width and more marked narrowing of the heart shadow than occurred in the other patients, irrespective of the progression of the pulmonary involvement. The significance of these findings has not been determined.

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