Dramatic Spike in Cystic Fibrosis Cases Expected in Children and Adults

As the lifespan of adults living with cystic fibrosis (CF) has increased, a new study in the European Respiratory Journal predicts the number of cases will dramatically rise by 2025.

As the lifespan of adults living with cystic fibrosis (CF) has increased, a new study in the European Respiratory Journal predicts the number of cases will dramatically rise by 2025.

Professor Pierre-Régis Burgel and his colleagues gathered data from the European Cystic Fibrosis Society Patient Registry to forecast how many children and adults will be living with the disease in the next decade.

The authors examined 34 European countries that have extensive CF population coverage. The countries were separated into four groups based on the availability of data and for those without data, the economic state was used instead.

In doing so, the results show that the number of adults with CF is expected to increase by about 75% in the 16 countries categorized with having reliable data. The researchers found that based on analysis of the data from 6 countries with the most reliable data, the Netherlands is expected to have the largest increase with 96.1%. The UK comes in second with 79.3%.

The study revealed that in Western European countries the number of CF patients is expected to increase by 50% with 20% corresponding to children and 75% to adults. In Eastern European countries, although the forecast predicts an increase in adults CF cases, the study suggests a predominant increase in children.

“We are now concerned that there are insufficient specialist centres to provide optimal care to adults with the disease,” Burgel said in a news release. “Healthcare systems will need to adapt to this change, particularly in countries with less well-established adult services.”

Many of the CF health centers in Europe focus on pediatrics which raises concern for adults with the condition.

The expected rise calls for concern over adult resources since the survival age of CF patients has increased. Due to improvements in treatment and care over the past 30 years, almost all children are now living to around age 40.

“The estimations we have made show very positive news for cystic fibrosis patients as the average survival age is increasing,” Burgel said.

Despite the good news about the increased lifespan, the authors concluded that there is an urgent need to implement more adult care services in order to meet the expected demand.