Measurements of FENO may not be useful in elderly asthmatics

Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FENO) has been extensively studied in children and adults with asthma, but little is known about FENO in elderly asthmatics.

This study enrolled 30 stable asthmatics 65 years old and older were followed for one year with evaluations at baseline and every 3 months.

FENO was not elevated in the study subjects throughout the study period (mean level was below 30 ppb). No correlation was found between FENO and FEV1/FVC, inhaled steroid dose or Asthma Control Test (ACT) scores at any time point.

Moderate asthma exacerbations did not consistently cause an increase of FENO.

The authors concluded that routine measurements of FENO may not be clinically valuable in elderly asthmatics.

Purchasing a FENO measuring device is a significant expense and the cost of each single use sensor is in the range of $15 in the U.S. If the findings of this study are confirmed, elderly patients with asthma may not need routine FENO monitoring, thus realizing savings for the patient and the health system.

References:

Asthma in the elderly: The role of exhaled nitric oxide measurements. Michele Columbo et al. Respiratory Medicine, Volume 107, Issue 5 , Pages 785-787, May 2013
http://www.resmedjournal.com/article/PIIS0954611113000449/abstract

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