Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited lung condition that allows thick mucus to adversely affect breathing, as well as function of the pancreas. It is chronic, progressive, and usually fatal. Individuals diagnosed with cystic fibrosis live on average until their mid- to late-30s. The disease is characterized by an abnormality in the glands that produce sweat and mucus.

Cystic fibrosis affects various systems in children and young adults, including the following:

  • Digestive system
  • Reproductive system
  • Respiratory system

There are about 30,000 people in the United States who are affected with the disease, and about 1,000 babies are diagnosed with it each year. Cystic fibrosis occurs mainly in Caucasians who have a northern European heredity, though it also occurs in African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.


UT Southwestern Medical Center offers cystic fibrosis patients access to the latest therapeutic techniques to control symptoms and improve quality of life. Our specialists will accurately diagnose the disease, as well as help reduce symptoms such as related lung infections and digestion problems.

We offer DNA-based blood tests in order to detect cystic fibrosis by identifying variations in a gene known to cause the disease.

Our lung transplant program has been especially successful in offering transplants to patients with cystic fibrosis. Over a recent 30-month period, the lung transplant program was rated the best in the nation for achieving the highest survival rate for one-year post-transplant patients. Since the lung transplant program began in 1990, UT Southwestern has consistently ranked among the top 10 in the United States.

Treatment Options

UT Southwestern provides antibiotic treatments and advanced enzyme replacement therapies to help control the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Our surgeons also perform procedures to relieve intestinal obstructions and further decrease symptoms.

With an early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and a comprehensive treatment plan, patients can significantly extend and improve their quality of life.

Symptoms vary from person to person, and a pulmonologist will prescribe the right form of treatment for your specific condition. Many adults have a milder form of the disease, and our specialists will thoroughly discuss all available treatment options.