Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis

Children and young adults with cystic fibrosis need coordinated care from a team of experts in a wide range of specialties. Specialists with the Duke Children's Cystic Fibrosis Center provide the latest treatments and personalized care to help manage your child's condition and improve their quality of life.

About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a chronic, inherited disease that affects many systems in the body. It causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and other organs. The sticky mucus obstructs airways, which results in troubled breathing. It also tends to cause repeated lung infections and eventually lung damage. CF can also interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from foods and can cause reproductive problems in men and women.

While there’s no cure for cystic fibrosis, there have been significant advances in treatment in recent decades. We use these advances to create individualized treatment programs, which have proven successful in helping people with cystic fibrosis live longer, fuller, and more active lives than ever before.

Accredited CF Center

Our CF Center is accredited by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which ensures that your child receives expert, high-quality care. As an accredited center, we offer:

  • Access to a comprehensive team of experts. Your child’s team will include doctors who specialize in pulmonology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, and infectious diseases. The team will also include nutritionists, respiratory therapists, and physical therapists as well as licensed clinical social workers and psychologists.
  • Access to clinical trials. People in both our pediatric and adult centers who meet certain qualifications can participate in trials of new cystic fibrosis treatments.
  • Seamless transition to adult care. Our comprehensive program includes helping young adults begin taking responsibility for their own care. We start teaching about the transition to our Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center when your child reaches age 16, providing support and guidance as they begin to manage home treatments, monitor their symptoms, and learn when to seek help from their doctor.
  • Ongoing care and support. Our licensed clinical social workers guide you and your family through the medical system and coordinate the health services your child needs. They can help you communicate with other members of the care team to ensure that the needs of your child and family are being met. They can provide support, help you work with insurance providers, connect you with resources, and help you manage details related to your child’s care. Your case manager coordinates your child’s transition from hospital to home. 
Reviewed: 02/15/2018

Treatment Options

Our team of specialists provides a complete range of traditional and new treatments. Many treatments are given at home on a daily basis. However, your child may need to be hospitalized for treatment if his or her lung function worsens. Our pediatric cystic fibrosis specialists will make sure you understand each treatment and support you and your child every step of the way.


Most children with cystic fibrosis are diagnosed during newborn screening; however, children with mild symptoms may not be diagnosed until they are older. Once diagnosed, your child will see our specialists about every three months. We'll perform tests to check your child's health, answer your questions, and make sure you are managing well with airway clearance techniques. For your child's protection, we ask that they wear a surgical mask when entering the hospital and outside the exam room.

Reviewed: 02/15/2018
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