The Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at St Paul’s Hospital is 37 years old. It had its beginnings in 1979 as the first “stand alone” adult CF clinic in North America.
Dr AGF Davidson, the Director of the Paediatric Cystic Fibrosis Clinic in BC, was a visionary. Believing in the ongoing improvement of survival of patients with CF he initiated the move to an adult clinic and Dr Barbara Nakielna took on the task. The Clinic started up in the out patient services at VGH with one clinic per month, but shortly thereafter moved to Shaughnessy Hospital where a team of CF health professionals was set up. In 1980 the clinic received formal recognition from the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
The Clinic shared the Paediatric CF Clinic Coordinator Sr Maureen O'Loane , thus immensely facilitating the transition process for the patients.
The patient numbers were small at that time in the adult clinic, with only 20 patients aged 18 to 28 years old. Survival statistics were still grim with the median survival age in the early twenties, and the challenges were great, but the clinic kept growing and soon BC became the first province in Canada to have more adults living with CF than children.
In 1993 the closure of Shaugnessy Hospital resulted in the clinic moving to St Paul’s Hospital where we received a very warm welcome along with dedicated clinic space and offices. In addition a dedicated space for a gym and patient kitchen for exclusive use by CF patients was negotiated and then furnished through fund raising by committed CF families.
The clinic has thrived in the St. Paul’s Hospital location, supported by a strong team of dedicated CF health care providers. Patient numbers continue to grow and there are currently about 270 adult patients at the clinic. The median age of survival in Canada for people living with CF is now over 53 years old, and the clinic’s patients range in age from 18 to 80 years.
For further information about cystic fibrosis in Canada, please visit the excellent CF Canada website and have a look at the most recent Canadian CF Registry Annual Report here.