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Cystic Fibrosis

Sweat test



My baby is - for all the test but the sweet test he is not sweating and they keep having me come back with him so they can keep trying to get him to sweet. they said that is needs answers before they pull the feeding tube out off him what is the sweat test do and how can it tell you anything. He is now a month old and that is the only test that is not work and reading. Can you tell me what the sweat test is and how it works please. thanks for your time


The sweat test you refer to is a test to help make the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF). CF is a chronic lung disorder that also causes children to have problems gaining weight among other symptoms. I would refer you to the website www.cff.org as an excellent resource about cystic fibrosis.

The sweat test collects sweat from the forearm, lower leg or back (in babies). It uses a chemical called pilocarpine along with a small electrical current to stimulate the sweat glands to produce sweat. This can be difficult in a baby to collect enough sweat to obtain a reliable result. This happens a lot in babies under one month old. The lab will measure the amount of salt in the sweat and this will help make the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.

The sweat chloride should be done only at accredited CF centers. Going to the above website will direct you to the nearest accredited CF center. It is a good idea to talk to the doctors who keep ordering this test to have them explain this test to you as well. Though we do not know the aspects of your child's care it sounds like an appropriate test to order and it is always good to let your doctors know that you have questions so everyone can have an open line of communication.

For more information:

Go to the Cystic Fibrosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Richard D Shell, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University