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Inflammometry in pediatric asthma: A review of fractional exhaled nitric oxide in clinical practice

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The burden of pediatric asthma remains high with one-third of patients being under- or overtreated because of the unique challenges in the assessment and management of childhood asthma. Until recently, there has been no point of care tool for assessing the underlying airway inflammation (i.e., inflammometry) in asthma. Recently, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) has emerged as an important biomarker for the assessment and management of asthma. Recent evidence indicates that FeNO identifies T-helper cell type 2 (Th2)‐mediated airway inflammation with a high positive and negative predictive value for identifying corticosteroid responsive airway inflammation. This article examines the evidence for FeNO as a predictor of Th2-mediated inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) responsive airway inflammation and reviews recent studies evaluating the role of FeNO, whether helpful or not, in the assessment and management of pediatric asthma. FeNO is a reliable adjunct to traditional tests in the assessment of suspected asthma. Importantly, it is useful for identifying and for excluding ICS-responsive airway inflammation. Although individual study results have varied, collectively, asthma managed using FeNO is associated with lower exacerbation rates compared with clinical algorithms alone. Finally, FeNO may be useful in identifying patients at risk for future impairment or loss of asthma control during reduction/cessation of ICS treatment. FeNO testing has an important role in the assessment of pediatric patients with suspected asthma and in the management of pediatric patients with established asthma. Additional studies will continue to define the exact role of FeNO testing in pediatric asthma.

Keywords: Asthma; biomarker; childhood asthma; clinical algorithms; fractional exhaled nitric oxide; inflammation; inflammometry; inhaled corticosteroid; pediatrics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Gundersen Lutheran Health System, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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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