Evidence of mild respiratory disease in men with congenital absence of the vas deferens

C. Castellani, A. Bonizzato, U. Pradal, M. Filicori, C. Foresta, G. B. La Sala, G. Mastella

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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a severe disorder, whose main characteristics are, in addition to congenital absence of the vas deferens (CAVD), progressive lung disease, pancreatic insufficiency and elevated sweat chloride levels; CAVD without any other manifest clinical evidence is commonly suggested to be a form of CF with primarily genital expression. We undertook this study to test the hypothesis that men with a CAVD phenotype could be more CF-like than it is usually assumed. Each subject from a population of 42 patients suffering from CAVD was screened for a panel of 16 mutations plus the intron 8 5-thymidine allele of the CF gene (5T), and underwent a thorough clinical evaluation which included a detailed anamnesis, anthropometric data, chest and paranasal sinuses X-rays, pulmonary function tests, sputum cultures, stool chymotrypsin determination, sweat test and, in a limited number of patients, Nasal Potential Difference (NPD) measurement. The genotype analysis detected one compound heterozygote, 23 heterozygotes and 15 individuals carrying the 5T allele; sweat chloride was positive in six, borderline in 11 and negative in 25 subjects; NPD was abnormal in 2/12 patients. Medical history and clinical examination were consistent with respiratory disease in 20 cases; there was radiological evidence of pulmonary hyperinflation in 37/39 and of sinus disease in 20/42 patients; Staphylococcus aureus was cultivated in the sputum of 9/36, Haemophilus influentiae in 3/36 subjects and three patients showed functional evidence of airway obstruction. These findings were equally distributed among sweat positive, borderline and negative patients. These results raise questions about the supposed benignancy of the CAVD condition. A close follow-up of men with CAVD could ascertain potential complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-875
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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    Castellani, C., Bonizzato, A., Pradal, U., Filicori, M., Foresta, C., La Sala, G. B., & Mastella, G. (1999). Evidence of mild respiratory disease in men with congenital absence of the vas deferens. Respiratory Medicine, 93(12), 869-875.