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The effect of spirometry and exercise on exhaled nitric oxide in asthmatic children*


  • *

    Partial data of the present article were presented at the European Respiratory Society Congress, Vienna 2003.

Johan C. de Jongste, Department of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center/Sophia Children's Hospital, PO Box 2060, 3000 CB, The Netherlands
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American Thoracic Society (ATS) guidelines recommend to refrain from spirometry or exercise before measuring fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) because forced breathing maneuvers might influence FENO values. However the few studies already reported in children have given conflicting results. The aim of the study was to observe to what extent spirometry or exercise could affect FENO in asthmatic children. Twenty-four asthmatic children (mean age 12.8 yr) were enrolled. Measurements of FENO were performed before and 5, 15, 30, 45 and 60 min after spirometry or a 6-min walk test, on two separate days in random order. Geometric mean FENO at baseline was 25.6 parts per billion (ppb) before spirometry and 23.5 ppb before exercise. A small drop of FENO to 24.2 and 23.7 ppb was found 5 and 15 min after spirometry (both p = 0.04). After exercise, FENO values showed a larger drop to 18.5 ppb after 5 min and 20.7 ppb after 15 min (p < 0.001; p = 0.004 respectively). Changes in FENO occurred after exercise irrespective of baseline FENO and values returned to baseline within 30 min. We conclude that both spirometry and exercise affect FENO in asthmatic children. As the changes after exercise may lead to erroneous interpretations, children should refrain from physical exercise during at least 30 min before FENO measurements.