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Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis Patients | Overview

Each year we care for more than 300 children with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that affects the lungs. Our Cystic Fibrosis Center is one of the largest national treatment centers accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and we strive to provide the highest quality care available anywhere.

One of the ways we measure our success in treating cystic fibrosis is the overall lung function of our patients. Beginning at approximately age six, children with cystic fibrosis regularly undergo lung function tests. One test — a measure known as forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) — is reported as a percentage of normal volume based on factors such as a patient’s age, gender and size.

The higher the percentage, the better the patient's lung function. By looking at the average lung function across all of our cystic fibrosis patients, we can assess the effectiveness of our treatment.

How are we doing?

We receive annual data from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's national patient registry, which collects information on the lung function of children with cystic fibrosis who receive treatment at the 120 hospitals and care centers accredited by the Foundation.

Our historical performance shows that the lung function of our patients has been consistently higher than the national average. It is in the top 25% of centers nationally, though is below the benchmark set by the top 10 care centers in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation registry. We know that care for our cystic fibrosis patients can always be improved, and we're working to make that happen!

Average Patient Lung Function (FEV1) in Cystic Fibrosis Patients, Ages 6-12

Boston Children's Patient Lung Function 6-12

Ages 13-17

Boston Children's Patient Lung Function 13-17

Ages 18-30

Boston Children's Patient Lung Function 18-30

(Last updated: January 2019)

What are we doing to improve?

Our multi-disciplinary care team reviews all of our patients on a regular basis to make sure they are receiving care that follows the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's clinical guidelines. Our center has an active quality improvement team including patient and family representatives developing strategies to improve the care we provide in our center. We also ask our cystic fibrosis patients to visit us frequently — at least four times a year — so we can monitor their lung function, medications, nutrition and overall health.

How do we compare to other hospitals?

Hospitals and care centers accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation report lung function data for their patients to the foundation's registry. You can find more detail and compare our results with other hospitals and care centers by looking at the Care Center Data section of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's website. (Please note that free registration is required to access the data.)

For more information on our cystic fibrosis care, visit our Cystic Fibrosis Center.