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Eur Respir J. 2014 Feb;43(2):474-84. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00048513. Epub 2013 Aug 15.

Domiciliary diurnal variation of exhaled nitric oxide fraction for asthma control.

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  • 1National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London and Biomedical Research Unit, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK.


A major goal of asthma management is maintaining optimal control. Current assessment is based on symptoms and lung function. We evaluated whether domiciliary daily home exhaled nitric oxide fraction (FeNO) monitoring could be useful as an index of asthma control. 50 asthmatic subjects and 15 healthy volunteers with a range of asthma severity underwent asthma control questionnaire (ACQ), spirometry before and after salbutamol and sputum induction. FeNO and peak expiratory flow (PEF) were measured twice daily for 2 weeks. A record of exacerbations was obtained 3 months later. Diurnal FeNO variation in uncontrolled asthmatics was significantly greater than in controlled asthmatics (p<0.01). PEF variation was not different. The daily variation of FeNO levels was also greater in uncontrolled asthmatics compared with controlled asthmatic and healthy subjects (p<0.01). 80% of uncontrolled asthmatics experienced at least one or more exacerbations over the 3 months after the enrolment. The combination of diurnal FeNO variation ≥ 16.6% and ACQ scores ≥ 1.8 was best at predicting uncontrolled asthma (area under curve 0.91, 95% CI 0.86-0.97; p<0.001). Diurnal variation in FeNO can be used as a biomarker of asthma control and as a predictor of the risk of future exacerbation. Prospective studies are warranted.

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