Cystic fibrosis is a serious condition that can make it difficult to breathe and cause other health challenges. But there’s hope. Specialized care from MUSC Health is helping adults and children live longer, with a good quality of life.
At MUSC Health, you have access to all the medical specialties you need in one program, including nationally renowned lung and digestive health experts. We go a step further by coordinating your tests and treatments so that you can focus on your immediate health needs.
What is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease affecting the way the body produces mucus. This watery substance protects the lining of certain organs, including the lungs. With CF, mucus becomes thick and sticky. It gets in the way of normal functions of the lung and other organs. People with CF have a higher chance of lung infection.
Mucus may build up and block the tubes that bring air in and out of your lungs (airways). CF can also affect organs in the digestive system, including the pancreas and liver. When this happens, your body produces fewer digestive enzymes. As a result, it becomes difficult for your body to absorb nutrients from food. As an inherited disease, CF is passed on in families.
Cystic Fibrosis Center: Why Choose Us?
MUSC Health is home to the only Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited program in the Lowcountry. This prestigious designation means we hold ourselves to the highest standards in every aspect of cystic fibrosis care, including diagnosis, treatment, and support. We are also advancing the field through research to make treatments safer and more effective. Our expertise draws adults and children from all over South Carolina and surrounding communities.
Highlights of our program include:
- Team Approach: Respiratory therapists, doctors, pharmacists, and dietitians specializing in CF come together to meet your every need. We are available in person and by phone to provide ongoing care, support, and recommendations that maximize your well-being. Meet our adult CF program and pediatric program teams.
- Research: We are making care safer and more effective through research. Our experts are leading the largest-ever CF trial to establish standards for controlling a lung problem called pulmonary exacerbation. These efforts will help to improve the way doctors treat CF patients all over the country. Find out more about clinical trials and research at MUSC Health.
- Pediatric Expertise: Our deep expertise in meeting the unique needs of children with CF includes personalized nutrition counseling and physical therapy. We also provide extra support for parents, such as helping you manage your child’s daily medications. We also help adolescents learn how to manage treatments and live as independently as possible as part of our transition program. Learn more about the cystic fibrosis center at MUSC Children's Health.
- Coordinated Care: If you need to go to the hospital for a lung-related problem, such as difficulty breathing, a select group of hospital-based doctors coordinates all of your care. These doctors have years of experience helping people with CF improve. The doctors are also in regular communication with our CF team, which helps us tailor treatments to meet your unique needs.
The care that’s right for you depends on the symptoms you are experiencing and how serious they are. We explain all of your options and together make a plan to help you feel better.
Treatments for CF provide much-needed relief from common problems, including:
- Breathing problems due to mucus buildup
- Difficulty absorbing nutrients from food
- Long-lasting (chronic) cough
- Lung infections
Your care may include:
- Antibiotics for infections.
- Breathing techniques that help clear the airways, improve lung function, and lower your risk for infection.
- Devices including an inflatable vest to loosen mucus and improve airflow in the lungs.
- Medications to relieve symptoms and treat complications such as lung infections and digestive problems.
- Nutrition counseling including personalized diet and vitamin recommendations to optimize nutrition and growth in children.
- Physical therapy to help loosen and clear excess mucus in the lungs and help you gain strength.
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Our Care Team
Additional Care Team Members
Sue Gray | Adult Program Coordinator