THE EFFECT OF A WINTER CAMP FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS PATIENTS
AT THE DEAD SEA REGION *

Eldar M. Berkovits1, Edmond Sabo, Asher Tal2

1Family Medicine Department, B. Rapaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel

2Pediatric Division, Soroka University Med Ctr, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Abstract:
In a previous report by Kramer et al. (Ann Int Med, 1994), it has been shown that descent to low altitude such as the Dead Sea area can improve arterial oxygenation (SaO2), exercise performance, and sleep oxymetry in patients with advanced lung diseases including CF. To assess the effect of a winter camp for CF, we evaluated data of 73 German CF patients who participated in the CF winter camp at the Dead Sea area between 1996-1999. Their mean age was 16.9 (range: 2.5y-38y). Clinical evaluation included a physical examination, spirometry and pulse oxymetry, performed on arrival and before departure. During their stay patients were given chest physiotherapy by a professional physiotherapist, and were encouraged to walk and participate in a variety of in-door and out-door activities. It should be emphasized that the Dead Sea area is a very dry place with only three to five raining days a year and a mean maximal temperature of 230C in the winter. Results: mean SaO2 significantly improved (96.4%-97.1% p<0.0001), as well as FVC and FEV1 (p<0.05). Non of the patients developed an acute exacerbation during the stay in the Dead Sea area and there was no need for IV interventions. In conclusion, these results indicate a significant objective benefit of a three weeks period in a winter camp at the Dead Sea region.

Introduction

Purpose:

  • To evaluate the effects of a three-week winter camp at the Dead-Sea region, on lung functions of cystic fibrosis patients.

  • Methods:
    We evaluated data of German CF patients who participated in a three weeks winter camp at the Dead Sea area between 1996-1999.

    1. Clinical evaluation included a physical examination, spirometry and pulse oxymetry, performed on arrival and before departure.
    2. During their stay patients were given chest physiotherapy by a professional physiotherapist, and were encouraged to walk and participate in a variety of in-door and out-door activities.

    Results:
    Research group included 73 German CF
    Mean age was 16.9 (range: 2.5y-38y)
    Male/Female ratio was 39:34
    Mean SaO2 significantly improved, as well as FVC and FEV1.
    Non of the patients developed an acute exacerbation during the stay in the Dead Sea area and there was no need for IV interventions.

    Conclusion:
    CF patients benefit while staying in the Dead Sea area, an ideal rehabilitation place during the winter. Our observation with 73 CF patients who spent 3-4 weeks in this area are encouraging, indicating the beneficial effects of the richer oxygen environment, in relation to arterial oxygen saturation and lung function.

    Bibliography:

    1. E. Paz
      The Salt Sea (Dead Sea) Book (In Hebrew); 1993.
      The Natural Reserves Authority and Regional Council
    2. A. Drugon
      A medical Outlook on the Dead Sea Area and Its Natural Therapeutic Factor.
      Health Resort Authority; 1978.
    3. M. Kramer, C. Springier, N. Beckman, E. Bar-Ice, A. Vital, A. Mandelberg, D. Efron, S. Godfrey.
      The Effect of Natural Oxygen Enrichment at Low Altitude on Oxygen Dependent Patients with End Stage Lung Disease.
      Annals of Internal Medicine 1994; 12 (9), 658-662
    4. The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, june 1999, Page No:56

    * Was presented as a Poster at the CF Conference at The Hague, Netherland, June 1999.

     



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