To describe physicians' attitudes and practices in screening for and treating abnormalities in glucose homeostasis in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and to test the hypotheses that guidelines for screening for CF-related diabetes (CFRD) are not followed at most centers and that screening and treatment vary by the care provider's background.
This cross-sectional survey included three groups of physicians: 1) 593 members of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society (LWPES), 2) 462 members of the pediatric assembly of the American Thoracic Society (ATS), and 3) 194 directors of cystic fibrosis centers (CFD). A mailed questionnaire was used for the survey.
The overall response rate was 67%. Of these, 224 LWPES, 143 ATS, and 135 CFD physicians reported actively seeing CF patients. About two-thirds of CF physicians (ATS and CFD) reported routine screening for impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in asymptomatic CF patients; a random glucose is most often used (60%), followed by HbA1c (50%), urine glucose (44%), fasting glucose (21%), and oral glucose tolerance test (2%). Only 40% of LWPES physicians reported intervening for stress-induced hyperglycemia, but 61% reported use of insulin for persistent IGT. Management of CFRD was similar for all groups; most physicians used insulin (91%). LWPES recommended more intensive glucose testing and nutritional guidelines than did ATS/CFD (P < 0.0001). LWPES reported less concern about risks of diabetes complications (P < 0.0001) and the importance of minimizing burdensome interventions (P < 0.01). All groups considered weight management a top priority.
Screening for IGT is not routinely done in CF patients and screening tests vary. Greater agreement exists on methods of treating patients with persistent IGT or CFRD, although goals and aggressiveness of treatment vary with the provider's background. A consensus conference is recommended.