WEDNESDAY, Aug. 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Infants with cystic fibrosis (CF) from racial and ethnic-minority groups have an older median age at first event (AFE: age at sweat test, encounter, and/or care episode), according to a study published online July 21 in Journal of Cystic Fibrosis.

Susanna A. McColley, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving infants born during 2010 to 2018 to compare AFE between infants categorized as Black/African American, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Asian, and/or Hispanic and/or other (Group 1) and non-Hispanic White infants (Group 2). Overall, 21 percent of the 6,354 infants were in Group 1.

The researchers found that median AFE was 31 days in Group 1 and 22 days in Group 2. Group 1 had a lower median weight for age z-score at 1 to 2 years. Among 3,017 infants with complete data on variables of interest, there were associations seen for AFE, Black race, CFTR variant class I to III, prematurity, and public insurance with lower one-year weight for age z-score.

“Prompt evaluation is critical for all infants with an out-of-range newborn screening test for cystic fibrosis,” McColley said in a statement. “Because presymptomatic treatment of cystic fibrosis is the overarching goal of newborn screening, we advocate for quality improvement activities that lead to timely diagnosis of all infants. We absolutely must achieve equity in diagnostic evaluation and initiation of care for cystic fibrosis.”

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