Measuring the amount of nitric oxide in exhaled breath can indicate the amount of inflammation in the lungs, and studies now suggest that a simple breath test can identify children at risk of developing asthma. Researchers at the University of Southern California measured fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) levels in 2,000 healthy children aged 7 to 10, then tracked them over four years. Those with the highest levels of FeNO at the beginning of the study were more than twice as likely to develop asthma later on as those with the lowest levels. The measurement device is manufactured by Aerocrine www.aerocrine.com. European Respiratory Journal; ERJ in Press July 15, 2010.
Medical Editors Note: It is not yet clear whether assessing this relationship affects asthma management or outcome.
Reviewed by Bradley Chipps, MD, and Neil MacIntyre, MD
First published in Allergy & Asthma Today, Fall 2010, Volume 8, Issue 3