Cirrhosis associated with decreased survival and a 10-year lower median age at death of cystic fibrosis patients in the Netherlands

F.H. Pals, H J Verkade, V A M Gulmans, B A E De Koning, B G P Koot, T G J De Meij, D M Hendriks, N Gierenz, A C E Vreugdenhil, R H J Houwen, F A J A Bodewes

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Background: Up to 10% of patients with Cystic Fibrosis develop cirrhotic CF-related liver disease with portal hypertension: CF cirrhosis (CFC). In a nationwide study, we aimed to determine the role of CFC on survival in the Netherlands between 1 and 1-2009 and 1-1-2015.

Methods: We identified all CFC patients in the Netherlands, based on ultrasonographic liver nodularity and portal hypertension. A non-cirrhotic control group was obtained from the national Dutch CF patient registry. We compared groups with regards to baseline lung function and nutritional status and survival and age at death over a 6-year period. In case of death of CFC patients, the clinical reported cause was recorded.

Results: At baseline, we found no significant difference in lung function and nutritional status between the CFC patients (N = 95) and controls (N = 980). Both the 6-year survival rate (77 vs. 93%; P <.01) and the median age at death (27 vs. 37 years; P = .02) was significantly lower in CFC compared to controls. In the deceased CFC patients, the reported primary cause of death was pulmonary in 68% of cases, and liver failure related in 18% of cases.

Conclusions: In the Netherlands, the presence of CFC is associated with a higher risk for early mortality and an approximately 10-year lower median age at death. This substantial poorer outcome of CFC patients was not reflected in a lower baseline lung function or a diminished nutritional status. However, in the case of mortality, the reported primary cause of death in CFC patients is predominantly pulmonary failure and not end-stage liver disease. (C) 2018 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Cystic Fibrosis Society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-389
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cystic Fibrosis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May-2019
Event51st Annual Meeting of the European-Society-for-Paediatric-Gastroenterology-Hepatology-and-Nutrition (ESPGHAN) - Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 9-May-201812-May-2018


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Survival rate
  • Cause of death
  • Pulmonary function
  • Nutritional status

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