Flow-dependency of exhaled nitric oxide in children with asthma and cystic fibrosis.

A. Kroesbergen, Q. Jöbsis, E.H. Bel, W.C. Hop, J.C. de Jongste*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Erasmus Medical Center/Sophia Children's Hospital, Dept of Paediatrics, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled air, a marker of airway inflammation, depends critically on the flow of exhalation. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of varying the flow on end-expiratory NO concentration and NO output in children with asthma or cystic fibrosis (CF) and in healthy children. Nineteen children with stable asthma, 10 with CF, and 20 healthy children exhaled from TLC while controlling expiratory flow by means of a biofeedback signal at approximately 2, 5, 10 and 20% of their vital capacity per second. NO was measured in exhaled air with a chemiluminescence analyser. Comparisons between the three groups were made by analysing the NO concentration at the endexpiratory plateau and by calculating NO output at different flows. Exhaled NO decreased with increasing flow in all children. Children with asthma had significantly higher NO concentrations than healthy children, but only at the lowest flows. Asthmatics using inhaled steroids (n=13) tended to have lower median exhaled NO than those without steroids. The slope of linearized (log-log transformed) NO/flow plots was significantly steeper in asthmatics than in healthy controls. CF patients had a significantly lower NO concentration and output over the entire flow range studied, compared to asthmatic and control subjects, with a similar NO/flow slope as control subjects. In conclusion, the nitric oxide concentration in exhaled air is highly flow-dependent, and the nitric oxide-flow relationship differs between asthmatics versus cystic fibrosis patients and control subjects. Assessment of the nitric oxide/flow relationship may help in separating asthmatics from normal children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-875
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999


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