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Paediatr Respir Rev. 2007 Mar;8(1):94-6. Epub 2007 Mar 19.

Fractional exhaled nitric oxide and induced sputum.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Pulmonary and Infectious Diseases, Wilhelminenspital, Vienna, Austria. <>


Conventional asthma management aimed at controlling the underlying airway inflammation is classically based on symptoms and lung function. More recently, various non invasive markers of airway inflammation have become available. The ideal measurement method should be safe, non-invasive, easy to perform, reproducible and accurate. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) measurements fulfil these criteria, however some issues concerning cut off values and clinical variability as well as the interpretation of high values in the absence of symptoms still need to be solved. Induced sputum measurements are more labour intensive, however have the advantage of providing direct, additional information on the current inflammatory status of the airways. The most frequently analysed marker is sputum eosinophil percentage, although other markers of inflammation have also been under investigation. Both methods, FeNO and induced sputum should be seen as complementary to the conventional tools such as spirometry and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) testing.

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