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Sweat test practice in pediatric pulmonology after introduction of cystic fibrosis newborn screening


The influence of the generalization of cystic fibrosis newborn screening (CFNBS) in France on sweat test (ST) prescription is unknown. In this French retrospective, descriptive, and multicenter study, we studied the indications, number, methods, and results of STs prescribed by a pediatric pulmonologist in children who had a negative CFNBS and an ST for respiratory symptoms in 2012. We included 502 children with 523 STs, performed with four different methods. The main indication was asthma (71.3 %), then chronic cough (52.4 %), atypical lower airway infections (42.2 %), and bronchiectasis (7 %). Four children had a diagnosis of CF (0.8 %), all presenting with chronic productive cough and recurrent respiratory infections.

Conclusion: Asthma is the most frequent indication of ST in our cohort. Because of the systematic CFNBS in France, some prescriptions should be avoided, particularly in case of severe or moderate asthma with no other associated symptom. Moreover, methods of STs often do not follow the guidelines and need standardization.

What is Known:
• Newborn screening (NBS) has become the most frequent circumstance of the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF) in France after its generalization.
• The prescription of sweat test (ST) in children with respiratory symptoms who already had a negative NBS has not been studied.
What is New:
• In children with a negative CF NBS referred to a university hospital for respiratory diseases, despite important variations of ST methods, only 4 children among 502 have been diagnosed as CF.
• Despite recommendations, ST prescription should be avoided in children with moderate to severe asthma and no other associated symptom.

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Cystic fibrosis


Newborn screening


Sweat test


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We thank Dr. B. Borwell for reading and correcting this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Céline Grimaldi.

Additional information

Communicated by Peter de Winter

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Grimaldi, C., Brémont, F., Berlioz-Baudoin, M. et al. Sweat test practice in pediatric pulmonology after introduction of cystic fibrosis newborn screening. Eur J Pediatr 174, 1613–1620 (2015).

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  • Pediatric pulmonology
  • Sweat test
  • Prescription
  • Respiratory symptoms