Exhaled and sputum nitric oxide in bronchiectasis: correlation with clinical parameters

Chest. 2002 Jan;121(1):88-94. doi: 10.1378/chest.121.1.88.


Study objectives: Although there has been tremendous attention on endogenous nitric oxide (NO) production in many respiratory and systemic diseases, little is known on NO production in bronchiectasis.

Design and setting: We determined exhaled and sputum NO levels in 109 patients with stable bronchiectasis (71 women; mean +/- SD age, 58.2 +/- 14.1 years) and 78 control subjects (39 women; mean age, 56.7 +/- 12.1 years) by using an automatic chemiluminescence analyzer.

Measurements and results: There was no significant difference in exhaled NO between patients with bronchiectasis and control subjects (p = 0.11). Bronchiectasis patients with Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection had a significantly lower exhaled, but not sputum, NO levels than their counterparts and control subjects (p = 0.04 and p = 0.009, respectively). Exhaled NO correlated with 24-h sputum volume in P aeruginosa-infected patients (r = - 0.36; p = 0.002). After adjustment for sputum volume and number of bronchiectatic lung lobes, P aeruginosa-infected patients still had lower exhaled NO levels than their counterparts (p = 0.01). There was no correlation between exhaled NO with FEV(1), FVC, and the number of bronchiectatic lung lobes (p > 0.05). Sputum NO levels were not different between patients and control subjects (p = 0.64), and had no correlation with clinical parameters.

Conclusion: Exhaled NO appears to be reduced among bronchiectasis patients with P aeruginosa infection independent of other clinical parameters, and further studies on the potential mechanisms and pathogenetic implications of this reduction should be pursued.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breath Tests*
  • Bronchiectasis / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Prognosis
  • Pseudomonas Infections / diagnosis
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Sputum / chemistry*
  • Vital Capacity / physiology


  • Nitric Oxide