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Utility of nitric oxide for the diagnosis of asthma in an allergy clinic population

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Fractionated exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) expression is increased in airway inflammation and several studies have suggested that FeNO measurement can be useful in patients with asthma. Atopic individuals have increased FeNO levels, indicating that atopy may be a codeterminant in FeNO production. The aim of this study was to determine the discriminative value of FeNO for asthma and other atopic conditions in the general allergy clinic. Patients referred to the outpatient allergy clinic were screened. A standardized questionnaire was taken and atopic status was assessed (skin-prick test or specific plasma IgE). FeNO level and spirometry were measured. If the patient's history was suspect for asthma, a provocative concentration causing a 20% decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (PC20) histamine challenge followed. One hundred fourteen steroid-naive patients were included. Forty-two subjects were diagnosed as asthmatic patients and 72 were diagnosed as nonasthmatic patients, comprising patients with allergic rhinitis (n = 32), nonallergic rhinitis (n = 11), urticaria (n = 11), eczema (n = 7), and other (n = 11). Asthmatic patients had a higher FeNO level than nonasthmatic patients (44 ppb versus 17 ppb; p < 0.001). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed the optimal FeNO level to distinguish asthma from nonasthma at 27 ppb, with a sensitivity of 78%, specificity of 92%, a positive predictive value of 86%, and a negative predictive value of 87%. Increased FeNO was positively correlated with the presence of respiratory symptoms (p < 0.01), airflow reversibility (p < 0.001), total IgE (p < 0.001), and negatively correlated with PC20 histamine (p = 0.019). Multivariate analysis revealed that atopy was not a significant predictor of FeNO in asthmatic patients. Measuring FeNO is a simple and useful test to differentiate new asthma patients from those with other atopic conditions in a general allergy clinic.
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Keywords: Allergy; IgE; PC20 histamine; asthma; atopy; eczema; fractionated exhaled nitric oxide; rhinitis; spirometry; urticaria

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Pulmonary Medicine, St. Franciscus Gasthuis, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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 and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    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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