Improving nutritional status in a pediatric cystic fibrosis center.Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Jun; 50(6):544-51.PP
The nutritional status of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) is strongly associated with pulmonary function, respiratory status and survival. Malnutrition could result from a discrepancy between energy needs and food intake while malabsorption results from pancreatic insufficiency which occurs in 85% of people with CF.
A quality improvement (QI) project was designed to improve the nutritional status of patients with CF with low Body Mass Index (BMI) between 3 and 19 years of age. An algorithm was developed which included clinic-based assessments of patients' nutritional status and periodic assessment by a dietitian, social worker and/or psychologist during the project. Gastrostomy tube placement and feeding was offered as a last resort to improve caloric intake.
173 patients seen during January-June, 2010, were included in this project. They were classified into four BMI groups and data were collected quarterly through June, 2012. The project target population (BMI percentile ≤ 24) had a median BMI percentile at the start of the project of 11.8. At the end of the project median BMI percentile was 22 (46% improvement).
Improving nutrition and BMI for patients with CF is achievable. There must be a motivated, multi-disciplinary team that includes patients and families. A patient-specific combination of interventions must be used. These interventions could be quite basic for patients with BMI percentile ≥ 25, yet more elaborate for patients with BMI percentile <25. Clinic-based algorithms such as ours can successfully improve the BMI percentile in patients with CF.