Pediatric cystic fibrosis patients who had a height-for-age above the 50th percentile had the highest pulmonary function at age 6 to 7 years, according to new research.

“The relationship between height-for-age and respiratory morbidity and mortality is not as well studied as the association between BMI and cystic fibrosis lung disease,” Don B. Sanders, MD, MS, associate professor of pediatrics in the division of pulmonology, allergy and sleep medicine at Indiana University, and colleagues wrote. “Children with cystic fibrosis with short stature have worse lung disease and a higher risk for early mortality.”

The retrospective, longitudinal cohort study included 5,388 children with cystic fibrosis who were born from 2003 to 2010 and followed in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry. All children had a cystic fibrosis diagnosis before age 2 years and were followed until age 7 years. Researchers classified annualized height-for-age changes as consistently above the 50th percentile or annualized height-for-age with at least 1 year below the 50th percentile that increased or decreased by at least 10 percentile points or was stable.

In the cohort, the median height-for-age when the children were aged 6 to 7 years was in the 39.5th percentile and mean FEVpercent predicted was 95.6%. Researchers reported a higher mean FEVpercent predicted among children with a height-for-age that was consistently above the 50th percentile (97.8%) compared with children with height-for-age below the 50th percentile for at least 1 year and increased by at least 10 points (95.1%), decreased by at least 10 points (95.7%) or was stable (94.3%), according to the results.

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