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Free Content Objective measures of asthma control: Sputum eosinophils, nitric oxide, and other inflammatory mediators

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This discussion concerns the tools we can use to measure the status of inflammation in asthma and therefore help us diagnose and manage this condition. Although measurement of pulmonary function is of course a necessity, it does not necessarily tell us the status of activity of the disease. For example, in a patient with fixed lung obstruction that can occur in asthma, the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) may be markedly low in the absence of disease activity. In addition, the disease may be highly active in a patient with normal lung functions by virtue of the fact that they are receiving therapy with inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators. Finally, measurement of disease activity is useful in establishing a diagnosis of asthma in a patient who is asymptomatic with normal lung functions at the time of presentation. Therefore, tools to measure the status of inflammation would be extremely helpful. In this article two such tools are discussed: the measurement of eosinophilia and the assessment of exhaled nitric oxide.

Keywords: Asthma control; exhaled nitric oxide; inflammation; methacholine inhalation challenge; outcomes; pulmonary function; sputum eosinophils

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: From the Division of Allergy and Immunology, Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, University of Tennessee, College of Medicine, Memphis, Tennessee

Publication date: 2007-09-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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