As the cystic fibrosis (CF) population has aged, many chronic health problems have emerged, including diabetes mellitus and osteoporosis. Previous studies have suggested that pain is common in patients with CF; however, little is known about the factors associated with it or its impact on clinical outcomes. We hypothesized that pain is common, is associated with psychologic distress, and adversely affects clinical outcomes.
From February 1, 2008, to April 3, 2008, adults with CF from Johns Hopkins Hospital were surveyed about their pain. Outcomes were assessed for 12 months following survey completion. Bivariate analyses were performed using Wilcoxon log rank, Kruskal-Wallis tests, and Spearman correlations. Logistic regression models and Cox proportional hazard models were used to analyze clinical outcomes.
Eighty-three patients (61%) completed the survey. Eighty-two percent of patients reported pain within the past month, the most common sites being the head, sinuses, back, and chest. Pain frequently interfered with general activities (41.9%), mood (56.8%), and work (47.3%). Symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as lower quality-of-life (QOL) scores, were associated with the presence of pain (P < .05 for each). The risk of pulmonary exacerbations was increased in patients with higher levels of pain, even after adjusting for FEV1 and age (OR = 1.65; P = .038; 95% CI, 1.03-2.64). Additionally, the risk of death was higher in patients with higher average pain scores (HR = 2.28; P = .008; 95% CI = 1.2-4.2).
Pain is common in adults with CF, interferes with activities, and is associated with lower QOL and an increased risk of both exacerbations and death.