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Cystic Fibrosis

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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disorder that affects the respiratory (lungs) and digestive system. It ultimately leads to severe damage of the lungs, causes malnutrition without intervention, and can lead to diabetes and bone disease. It is the most common genetic disorder in Caucasians, affecting about 30,000 patients in the United States and 70,000 worldwide. However, it also occurs in Hispanics, African-Americans and some Native Americans. It is typically diagnosed during childhood. Due to advances in screening and care, more adults are now living better with this disease.

Cystic fibrosis is caused by one of many possible genetic mutations (changes) in the CF protein that makes sweat, mucus, and digestive juices (called bile) abnormally thick and sticky. When these lubricants can’t move through passages in the lungs and pancreas, it leads to life-threatening conditions.

Symptoms of cystic fibrosis vary and can go unnoticed until young adulthood (called adult-onset CF). In addition to a chronic, ongoing, cough that brings up mucus, shortness of breath, and nasal congestion, adult symptoms, and complications of cystic fibrosis may include:

  • Arthritis: joint swelling and pain, such as cystic fibrosis-related arthropathy (CFA) and hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy (HPO)
  • Bile duct disease: like biliary cirrhosis (irreversible scarring caused by bile blockage)
  • Bronchiectasis: permanently enlarged airways that cause excess mucus in the lungs
  • Diabetes: problems regulating insulin, or blood sugar
  • Frequent lung infections: like bacterial pneumonia
  • Gallstones: stones in the gallbladder
  • Infertility: specifically in males
  • Malnutrition: lack of vital nutrients due to absorption problems (how the pancreas processes vitamins, minerals, and proteins from food)
  • Osteoporosis: bone loss or thinning
  • Pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas

At the University of Miami Health System, our pulmonologists (lung specialists) help patients with cystic fibrosis live life to the fullest by controlling symptoms and slowing disease progression (worsening). We also help children and teens with CF transition into the adult health care system.

Why Choose UHealth?

Multidisciplinary teams work together for you. Your care team is led by pulmonologists and includes a nurse practitioner, respiratory therapist, dietitian, psychologist, social worker, and physical therapist with special training in CF. We also partner with other specialists in gastroenterology, hepatology (liver care), otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), and more. You get the best possible care when we’re all working for you.

Part of the CF Foundation’s Therapeutic Development Network (TDN). TDN is a national research collaborative that conducts and shares groundbreaking CF treatments discovered by specialists in different medical fields. This means you have access to the very latest and greatest clinical trials and CF care right here in South Florida.

One of about 100 accredited adult cystic fibrosis programs in the U.S. We’re recognized by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for our high-quality care and support for adult patients with CF. Our comprehensive services — including education, counseling, connection to community resources, and much more — help you stay healthy and strong.

Special transition services for teens moving to adult cystic fibrosis care. Along with the online CF R.I.S.E. program, our transition team helps your high-schooler become independent and responsible for his or her health care. We provide facility tours, care team meet-and-greets, and “life after school” counseling, well before pediatric care ends. You can rest easy knowing your teen has seamless, continuous care for a complex condition. 

Ongoing Clinical Trials

We currently have multiple ongoing clinical trials which change frequently. You can find the most updated list of the clinical trials we are participating at:

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Treatments

  • Airway clearance

    Airway clearance techniques (ACTs) loosen and thin mucus in the lungs. Chest physical therapy uses percussion (clapping), vibration, and deep breathing exercises to help you huff and cough up mucus. Chest physical therapy combined with postural percussion involves clapping while you stand, sit, and lie down to promote drainage. Another common ACT is a vibrating vest attached to a machine.

  • Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regular (CFTR) modulators

    CFTR modulators are medicines that correct the function of the defective protein made by the CF gene. Currently, only specific mutations (changes) can be treated with CFTR modulators. Research continues in this field. .

  • Medicine therapy

    Oral, inhaled, or injected medicines can help fight infections, preserve and improve lung function, reduce inflammation, and thin mucus. These include antibiotics, bronchodilators, and anti-inflammatory medicines. Your doctor may prescribe other medicines or supplements to treat related complications, such as diabetes or problems with vitamin absorption in the pancreas.

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation

    Pulmonary rehabilitation programs involve support, education, exercise, and nutrition counseling and training to help you live better with cystic fibrosis. Our programs are personalized to your needs, and focus on keeping you active and enjoying life.


Tests

  • Genetic tests

    Genetic tests can tell if you carry the CF gene and confirm a diagnosis, if necessary. Genetic tests for CF involve blood samples or tissue taken from the inside cheek sent to a lab for analysis.

  • Sweat test

    Cystic fibrosis causes increased chloride (a component of salt) in the body that can be detected in a sweat test. This test involves applying a sweat-producing material on the skin to collect a sample for analysis.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry First Health PPO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Seasons Hospice
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care