How does cystic fibrosis (CF) affect intestinal functioning?

Updated: Oct 22, 2019
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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Defects in CFTR lead to reduced chloride secretion with water following into the gut. This may result in meconium ileus at birth and in distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS) later in life.

In addition, other pathologic disorders complicate the simple relationship between the apical chloride and water secretion and the disease. The pancreatic insufficiency decreases the absorption of intestinal contents.

Mechanical problems associated with inflammation, scarring, and strictures may predispose the patient to sludging of intestinal contents, leading to intestinal obstruction by fecal impaction or to intussusception. Adhesions may form, leading to complete obstruction. A complete obstruction may require resection, leading to loss of absorptive epithelium of the distal ileum.

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