Does exhaled nitric oxide predict asthma exacerbation in children?

Enoh Esuene Ughanze, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Asthma is a chronic complex disorder of the respiratory tract that affects millions of people globally, a large percentage of which are children. Triggered by a host of factors such as allergens and changes in temperature, the pathophysiologic and clinical indices vary among patients and have contributed to difficulties in overall management of asthma. Shortly after exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) was discovered in higher concentrations in asthma patients, it was shown to be superior to other markers such as PEFR, FEV1 and sputum eosinophils in screening asthma patients. Studies have also noted promising results regarding the use of eNO to predict asthma exacerbation in adults while in children, asthma symptoms have been observed to be good predictors of asthma exacerbation. Currently however, the potential of eNO as a predictor of asthma exacerbation in children is yet to be examined. The objective of this study was to assess eNO potential to predict asthma exacerbation in children by examining the relationship between eNO and changes in pulmonary function, asthma symptoms and rescue medication use. The primary study "Air Toxics and Asthma in Children" (ATAC), recruited children aged 9 to 14 years with labile persistent asthma diagnosed at least one year earlier. The data obtained from 30 study participants, included exhaled nitric oxide concentration, PEFR, FEV1, asthma symptoms and frequency of emergency medication use. Descriptive statistics, Pearson's and Spearman's correlation tests were followed by a simple linear regression in which eNO was the independent (predictor) variable while FEV1, PEFR, asthma symptoms and frequency of emergency medication use were the dependent (outcome) variables. Results showed that eNO was associated with percent change in FEV1, day time wheeze, night time shortness of breath, but correlated only weakly with PEFR, amplitude percent of mean PEFR, FEV1, percent change in FEV1 and asthma symptoms. Further research is imperative to better define the role of eNO and understand intrinsic pathologic mechanisms towards asthma management in children.

Subject Area

Medicine|Public health

Recommended Citation

Ughanze, Enoh Esuene, "Does exhaled nitric oxide predict asthma exacerbation in children?" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1470188.