Noninvasive monitoring of airway inflammation and steroid reduction in children with asthma

Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Jun;6(3):155-60. doi: 10.1097/01.all.0000225152.37403.21.


Purpose of review: Management of pediatric asthma is currently based on symptoms (often a second-hand report from parents) and lung function. Inhaled steroids are the mainstay of asthma management targeted at controlling airway inflammation. They should be used in the lowest possible doses. A number of noninvasive methods to assess inflammation have been developed in an effort to optimize anti-inflammatory treatment.

Recent findings: The first longitudinal studies have been published demonstrating an improvement in asthma control in children by adding noninvasive monitoring of inflammation into the clinical management. New methods include exhaled nitric oxide measurements, induced sputum and markers in exhaled breath condensate.

Summary: Further studies will show the practicability of including these measurement methods into everyday clinical practice. Their addition to the conventional assessment of asthma control appears promising. Using these methods to evaluate the current inflammatory state seems obligatory in research into new asthma therapeutics and management strategies. Managing asthma in children in specialist practice relying only on symptoms and lung function is no longer state of the art.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Breath Tests*
  • Child
  • Eosinophilia / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis*
  • Sputum / cytology*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Nitric Oxide