Vital help for cystic fibrosis diagnosis in Hódmezővásárhely

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For six years now, the Robert Burns International Foundation has supported the Infant and Children’s Department of the Hódmezővásárhely-Makó Health Care Centre with generous donations, totalling almost HUF 6 million. The equipment purchased so far has mainly been used for therapeutic purposes.

With this year’s donation, funded jointly with Inter Relocation again, we purchased a sweat analyser, which expanded the diagnostic capabilities of the children’s department. The device determines the concentration of sodium chloride ions in sweat and is used in the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, one of the most common congenital genetic diseases in the European population. The disease develops when a child inherits an abnormal gene from both parents, and is caused by a genetic defect in the protein responsible for transporting chloride ions in the saliva-producing glands, which leads to the formation of thick, sticky saliva that mainly affects the lungs and pancreas, but also other organs. With early detection and appropriate treatment of the disease and new therapeutic options, patients’ quality of life can be significantly improved, and their life expectancy extended by decades.

According to Dr. Ferenc Papp, head physician at the department:

The new device enables our department to measure the sodium chloride content of sweat too, which is particularly important as our paediatric pulmonary and gastroenterology departments have a large number of patients with suspected cystic fibrosis based on clinical symptoms. Based on our preliminary estimates, we expect to examine approximately 50-100 patients per year. The test is relatively easy to perform, not painful or particularly stressful, and the results are available immediately. The device is unique in its ability to measure very small amounts of sweat (0.5 microlitres), which is particularly useful for testing infants who don’t sweat as much.

Thanks to the device donated by the RBIF the children’s department can add this valuable test to its diagnostic portfolio. So far, patients have had to travel miles away to Szeged for appointments. With the new device, the test can be performed in Hódmezővásárhely, almost immediately, helping to detect cystic fibrosis early and thus contributing to improving the quality of life of the patients concerned. A negative test result, on the other hand, can eliminate fears and anxiety in parents, which is no less important. The sweat analyser will be used in the brand-new children’s department at the hospital in Hódmezővásárhely, which was officially opened in April 2023.

We thank the Robert Burns International Foundation for the continued support.