Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray is a picture of the chest that shows your heart, lungs, airway, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. A chest X-ray also shows the bones of your spine and chest, including your breastbone, ribs, collarbone, and the upper part of your spine. A chest X-ray helps the doctor to monitor the condition of the lungs. Chest xrays are usually done once a year and as needed.

Blood work

Routine blood work done yearly helps the CF team monitor your health including the health of kidneys, liver, the immune system and some vitamin levels.

Breathing tests (spirometry)

Breathing tests called spirometry are usually done at every clinic visit after the age of 5 or 6 depending on the child. Spirometry measures how fast one can blow air. It also checks to see how much air can fit in the lungs. It helps the CF team monitor lung health. Spirometry is usually done in the hospital’s Pulmonary Function Lab.

Sputum sample

Checking sputum (lung mucus) for germs at every clinic visit helps the CF team determine what organisms may be growing in the mucus. This helps the doctor to decide what treatment, if any, may be necessary. A sputum sample involves the patient coughing and spitting sputum into a cup or the nurse doing a throat swab. The sputum is taken to a laboratory and assessed for the presence of infection.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

OGTT is a test that measures blood sugar levels before and two hours after drinking a solution containing sugar. The test is done yearly starting at age 10. It is done in a blood taking lab. OGTT monitors for the development of cystic fibrosis related diabetes (CFRD).

Bone Mineral Density (BMD)

Starting at the age of 10 years BMD is done every year or two. It shows how strong the bones are and helps the team decide whether or not to add any more vitamin D or calcium supplements into the regime. It can detect the development of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Fecal Elastase

Stool can be tested for fecal elastase (an enzyme) to determine if the pancreas is producing enough enzymes to digest food properly. If the fecal elastase test determines that the pancreas isn’t producing enough enzymes, the doctor may prescribe pancreatic enzymes. This test is done as needed.