Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis

The Cystic Fibrosis Center at Lurie Children’s has been a Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited cystic fibrosis (CF) care center since 1963. It is the largest cystic fibrosis center in the state of Illinois.

The CF Center is committed to providing excellent, multidisciplinary care to each patient and family; staff members focus on individualized preventive care; active management of lung health and nutrition; and patient and family education.


Our CF Center physicians are board-certified in pediatric pulmonary medicine and have received training in cystic fibrosis care. They coordinate the outpatient care of children with the CF team and rotate weeks supervising (or directing) the care of patients that are hospitalized. Our physicians are actively involved in clinical research. There is always a pulmonary physician on call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our team includes:
  • Pulmonologists
  • Advanced practice nurses
  • Genetic counselors
  • Nurses
  • Nutritionists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers

Adrienne Prestridge Savant, MD, is the CF Center Director. Dr. Prestridge Savant is board-certified in general pediatrics and is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Susanna McColley, MD, is the Associate Director of the CF Center. She is board-certified in pediatric pulmonology. Dr. McColley is also the Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Program and the Deputy Director for Clinical Research at Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. Additionally, Dr. McColley is a professor of pediatrics at the Feinberg School.

We work closely with gastroenterologists, allergists, pediatric surgeons, physical therapists, endocrinologists, hepatologists and ear, nose and throat specialists. We also have an active liver transplant program with leading experts in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.


Our experienced pulmonary nurses are available to coordinate your many CF care-related needs. This may include home routines, management of acute illnesses, obtaining and interpreting test results, providing medication information and prescription refills, negotiating adherence with your child, interfacing with school and home care needs. There is a nurse available at each regularly scheduled outpatient visit and by telephone Monday through Friday.

Respiratory Care

The purpose of providing respiratory care is to prevent a decline in lung function. Early treatment of the lungs may include the use of airway clearance techniques (ACT) that mobilize secretions, inhalation therapy to deliver medications to the lungs, early treatment of respiratory illnesses and the use of medications that have proven to be effective in CF. These form the foundation of respiratory care in cystic fibrosis.

Our experienced respiratory therapists teach patients and families airway clearance techniques tailored to individual needs and abilities. This may include chest physical therapy, Flutter®, acapella, the vest and autogenic drainage. The therapists also perform an ongoing assessment because ACT options may change as your child grows older.

Nutrition Care

Optimal CF nutrition helps keep lungs healthy and allows the body to fight infection. Our nutritionists play an active role in the care of our patients. Height, weight and body mass index are reviewed at very visit to assess growth. In addition, the nutritionists review enzymes, gastrointestinal patterns, vitamin supplementation, individual eating habits, mealtime behaviors and sports and school lunch schedules. They collaborate with the patient and family on nutrition strategies and problem solve around obstacles.

Our two CF center nutritionists are also available for inpatient care, outpatient visits and interim phone calls. Practical assistance in meeting nutrition goals is provided during clinic visits, by nutrition newsletters and a variety of other resources. 

Social Work

All families experience stress when a member has a chronic illness. The CF team social worker is available to assist families in managing this stress by partnering with them to find solutions. The social worker is present at most clinics and is available during the week by phone to provide support, answer questions and make referrals. She also performs routine psycho-social assessments in order to assist the team in providing comprehensive care to the children and families who use our center.

Genetic Counseling

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease whereby an individual inherits two abnormal CF genes, one from each parent. When an individual is known to have CF, it is possible that other family members could be affected by CF or be a carrier (someone who inherits one abnormal gene from just one parent). Genetic counseling is helpful in understanding how CF is inherited, what the chances are that another child born from the same parents could also have the disease (or be a carrier), what the recommendations are for CF carrier testing for spouses, and fertility options.

A genetic counselor meets with each new CF family and is also available for consultation during regularly scheduled outpatient visits. Please notify the CF Center if you wish to see the genetic counselor.

Make an Appointment

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®). You can also request an appointment online.


Your support is important in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please contact the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at, call 312.227.7500 or make a gift today.

Groundbreaking Findings for Patients with Cystic Fibrosis

In May 2015, Susanna McColley, MD, authored a study that found a drug combination to help treat patients with the most common CF genetic mutation.

Learn more.

Related Stories

A Quality Care Award-winning Center

Lurie Children's Cystic Fibrosis Center was recently awarded the Cystic ​Fibrosis Foundation’s Quality Care Award: Recognizing Outstanding QI Processes and Accomplishments.
Lurie Children's program is among just six centers to receive the award.

​CME: Quality Improvement, Newborn Screening and Novel Therapies in CF

Healthcare professionals interested in earning continuing medical education credit can take our course, "Cystic Fibrosis Update: Quality Improvement, Newborn Screening and Novel Therapies." Participants will learn strategies to:

  • Recognize the importance of quality improvement efforts in improving adherence to guidelines for cystic fibrosis leading to improved long term outcomes, such as survival
  • Assess the implications of a positive newborn screening test for cystic fibrosis and select the appropriate additional testing
  • Discuss the most recent updates in clinical management of patients with cystic fibrosis, including important screening tests and new therapies