Does extensive genotyping and nasal potential difference testing clarify the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis among patients with single-organ manifestations of cystic fibrosis?
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BACKGROUND: The phenotypic spectrum of cystic fibrosis (CF) has expanded to include patients affected by single-organ diseases. Extensive genotyping and nasal potential difference (NPD) testing have been proposed to assist in the diagnosis of CF when sweat testing is inconclusive. However, the diagnostic yield of extensive genotyping and NPD and the concordance between NPD and the sweat test have not been carefully evaluated. METHODS: We evaluated the diagnostic outcomes of genotyping (with 122 mutations included as disease causing), sweat testing and NPD in a prospectively ascertained cohort of undiagnosed patients who presented with chronic sino-pulmonary disease (RESP), chronic/recurrent pancreatitis (PANC) or obstructive azoospermia (AZOOSP). RESULTS: 202 patients (68 RESP, 42 PANC and 92 AZOOSP) were evaluated; 17.3%, 22.8% and 59.9% had abnormal, borderline and normal sweat chloride results, respectively. Only 17 (8.4%) patients were diagnosable as having CF by genotyping. Compared to sweat testing, NPD identified more patients as having CF (33.2%) with fewer borderline results (18.8%). The level of agreement according to kappa statistics (and the observed percentage of agreement) between sweat chloride and NPD in RESP, PANC and AZOOSP subjects was 'moderate' (65% observed agreement), 'poor' (33% observed agreement) and 'fair' (28% observed agreement), respectively. The degree of agreement only improved marginally when subjects with borderline sweat chloride results were excluded from the analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The diagnosis of CF or its exclusion is not always straightforward and may remain elusive even with comprehensive evaluation, particularly among individuals who present at an older age with single-organ manifestations suggestive of CF.
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