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Elective versus symptomatic antibiotic treatment in cystic fibrosis patients with chronic Pseudomonasinfection of the lungs
  1. J S Elborn,
  2. R J Prescott,
  3. B H R Stack,
  4. M C Goodchild,
  5. J Bates,
  6. C Pantin,
  7. N Ali,
  8. D J Shale,
  9. M Crane on behalf of the British Thoracic Society Research Committee
  1. British Thoracic Society Research Committee
  1. Dr S Elborn, Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre, Level 11, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast BT9 7AB, UK email:stuart.elborn{at}


BACKGROUND A previous retrospective study suggested that a policy of regular anti-pseudomonal antibiotic treatment improved pulmonary function and increased survival in patients with cystic fibrosis chronically infected with Pseudomonas species. The results of a prospective multicentre study to compare the effects on pulmonary function and mortality of three monthly elective anti-pseudomonal antibiotic treatment with conventional symptomatic treatment are reported.

METHODS Sixty patients with cystic fibrosis, chronically infected with P aeruginosa, were randomised to the two treatment arms (elective or symptomatic) and followed clinically at yearly reviews. The major end points were changes in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC). Survival was a secondary end point.

RESULTS Patients in the symptomatic group received a mean of three antibiotic treatments each year and those in the elective group received four antibiotic treatments during each year of the study. No significant differences in FEV1 and FVC were found between the two groups after three years. There was a statistically non-significant higher rate of deaths in the elective group (n = 4), three of which were associated withB cepacia infection, compared with the symptomatic group (n = 0).

CONCLUSIONS This study did not demonstrate an advantage of a policy of elective antibiotic treatment over symptomatic treatment in patients with cystic fibrosis chronically infected with Pseudomonasspecies.

  • cystic fibrosis
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • maintenance treatment
  • antibiotics

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