Discrepancy between clinical asthma control assessment tools and fractional exhaled nitric oxide

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Aug;101(2):124-9. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60199-8.


Background: Asthma is an inflammatory disease, yet clinical tools that evaluate asthma control do not include measures of inflammation.

Objective: To determine the correlation between fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and each of 5 asthma control evaluation tools, namely, the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ), the Asthma Control Test (ACT), the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) goals of therapy, the Joint Task Force Practice Parameter (JTFPP) on attaining optimal asthma control, and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines.

Methods: Patients 6 years or older who had asthma were clinically evaluated by an asthma specialist. Patients completed the ACT and ACQ and underwent spirometry and FeNO measurement. The physician was blinded to FeNO results until asthma control assessments were concluded. Correlations between FeNO level and each clinical evaluation tool were calculated.

Results: One hundred patients 6 to 86 years old were enrolled. No significant association was found between FeNO level and asthma control based on ACQ (P > .99), ACT (P = .53), NAEPP (P = .53), JTFPP (P = .30), or GINA (P = .86) criteria. Agreement was high among the NAEPP, the JTFPP, and GINA; moderate between the ACQ and the ACT; and poor to fair between the ACT or the ACQ and the other 3 tools.

Conclusions: In addition to clinical evaluation, the incorporation of FeNO measurement in evaluating asthma is likely to lead to a more optimal pharmacotherapy, guidance in adjusting the dosage of anti-inflammatory agents, and positive long-term disease outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Breath Tests
  • Child
  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / analysis*
  • Spirometry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Nitric Oxide