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Cystic fibrosisLung functionNMR SpectroscopySputum


The invention concerns the use of Low-Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (LF-NMR) for the monitoring of patients affected by cystic fibrosis (CF). Through the analysis of a sputum sample of CF patients it allows to indirectly evaluate lung function in a fast way, enabling a correct management of lung infection and preventing further lung damage.

Technical features

Lung function of CF patients is assessed by spirometric measures (FEV1(%)), sputum culture and analysis of blood inflammation biomarkers. These procedures require an equipped laboratory and highly specialized personnel, are time-consuming and expensive. The present method is based on LF-NMR measures to evaluate the relaxation time (T2m) of the hydrogens present in the aqueous part of the sputum. The T2m is reduced in a dose-dependent manner by the presence in the sputum of pathological substances, whose concentration increases with inflammation/lung infection. Therefore, the T2m allows to indirectly evaluate lung function in patients with CF. Experimental data show an excellent correlation between T2m, FEV1 (%) and inflammation indices. The method is easier, faster and cheaper compared to the available measures (FEV1 (%), inflammation markers). There are no similar techniques on the market for the sputum analysis.

Possible Applications

  • Use in public and private analysis laboratories;
  • Patients monitoring in hospitals;
  • Development of a new diagnostic procedure.


  • Simple, fast and low-cost method;
  • Does not require particularly equipped laboratories or hyper-specialized staff;
  • It is suitable for a frequent monitoring of patients.