Complications of cystic fibrosis

Complications of cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) can attacks the lungs and gastrointestinal tract so severely, that some patients may suffer from complications in these organs. In addition, the reproductive system can also be affected in both males and females.

Potential complications of the lungs:

  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Stretching and floppiness of the air sacs (bronchiectasis)
  • Escape of air from a break in the lung tissue which then becomes trapped between the lung and chest (pneumothorax); 
  • Right heart failure (cor pulmonale) which can cause foot and ankle swelling
  • Inflammation of the nasal sinuses (sinusitis), 
  • Fleshy growths inside the nose (nasal polyps)
  • Poor oxygen circulation, showing up with the fingertips getting rounder and bigger

Potential gastrointestinal complications:

  • Rectal prolapse (when the rectum sticks out through the anus). Rectal prolapse is a well-recognized complication in young children with CF and usually occurs during a bowel movement.
  • Blockage of the intestines with thick intestinal secretions that newborns normally pass in the first 24 hours of life (meconium ileus) 
  • Distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS), similar to meconium ileus seen in older people with CF 
  • Chronic scarring of the liver (cirrhosis); 
  • Gallstones 
  • Diabetes. 

Potential complications in the reproductive system: