Variations in Nutrition Practices in Cystic Fibrosis: A Survey of the DIGEST Program

Ala K. Shaikhkhalil, Alvin J. Freeman, Meghana Sathe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Evidence-based management of gastrointestinal (GI) and nutrition manifestations of cystic fibrosis (CF) is limited, and practice variations have not been studied. Methods: Thus, a survey was developed with the purpose of evaluating current nutrition practices of CF-focused gastroenterologists, specifically utilizing awardees and mentors of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) Developing Innovative GastroEnterology Specialty Training (DIGEST) Program. Topics included appetite stimulation, tube feeding (TF), and aspects of nutrition assessment, specifically urine sodium and essential fatty acid (EFA) status. Results: The response rate was 61% (22/36). About half (55%; 12/22) of respondents had 5–10 years of experience in GI, and 23% (5/22) had >10 years. In regard to appetite stimulation, the majority used cyproheptadine; however, duration and pattern of prescribing varied. Variation was noted in TF management pertaining to tube placement, formula choice, and prescribing pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy with overnight TF. The majority did not check EFAs or urine sodium. Treatment for deficiencies in EFA or abnormal urine sodium was inconsistent. Conclusion: The survey reveals wide variation in management of some aspects of nutrition-related manifestations of CF among experienced providers. This reflects the need for research to provide evidence-based guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1251
Number of pages5
JournalNutrition in Clinical Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • appetite
  • cystic fibrosis
  • enteral nutrition
  • essential fatty acids
  • gastrointestinal tract
  • nutrition assessment
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • urine sodium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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