Cystic Fibrosis​


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a common inherited disease that affects many parts of the body, most commonly the lungs and digestive system. It affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These are normally meant to be thin and slippery but in cystic fibrosis, a defective gene in their body causes these fluids to become thick and sticky. This blocks the bosy's tubes, ducts and passageways, especially inside the lungs and pancreas.​

New-borns are now regularly screened for cystic fibrosis and it can usually be diagnosed at a very early age. The symptoms differ depending on the severity; sometimes they may become worse or improve with time, whereas some children may not experience any symptoms until much later in life, at the time of adolescence or even adulthood.

The common symptoms of cystic fibrosis include:

  • A stubborn cough with thick mucus

  • Wheezing and breathlessness

  • Repeated lung infections

  • Stuffy nose

  • Bad smelling stools

  • Poor weight gain and growth

  • Intestinal blockage

  • Severe constipation​
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If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please make an appointment to consult with one of our expert medical staff working with the Children's Hospital Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here ​are some tips to help get you started. ​

Tests for cystic fibrosis include the following: 

  • Sweat test: During this test, a sweat producing chemical is applied to a small area of skin and the sweat is tested to see if it's too salty.

  • Genetic testing: Doctors may also collect DNA samples from blood to check for genetic defects.​

There is no permanent cure for cystic fibrosis, but proper treatment can help to ease your child’s symptoms. 

In some cases, cystic fibrosis may be treated through medications prescribed by your doctor working with the Children’s Hospital Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital. 

There are also mechanical devices available to loosen lung mucus, including a vibrating vest or a tube or mask he or she can breathe into.

There are also surgical procedures that can help with cystic fibrosis. These include:

  • Nasal polyp removal: Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove abnormal growths of tissue that obstructs breathing.

  • Endoscopy: In this process a long thin tube (known as an endoscope) is inserted through your nostrils to remove mucus from your airways.

  • Feeding tube: A feeding tube can be used to help your child absorb nutrients the right from. 

  • Bowel surgery: Surgery is an option to remove a severe bowel blockage.

  • Lung transplant: If your child’s breathing problems are very severe, lung transplantation may be a possible option to help relieve breathing function.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.