Exhaled breath temperature increases during mild exacerbations in children with virus-induced asthma

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2010;153(1):70-4. doi: 10.1159/000301581. Epub 2010 Apr 1.


Background: Exhaled breath temperature (EBT) has been suggested as a non-invasive surrogate marker of airway inflammation in asthma. The aim of the study was to evaluate differences in EBT between periods of controlled disease and during exacerbations in children with virus-induced asthma.

Methods: Twenty-nine children (aged 6-14 years) with a history of intermittent, virus-induced asthma were included in this case-control study. Cases presented with a common cold and/or mild exacerbation of asthma, while controls were free of asthmatic or common cold symptoms during the previous 6 weeks. A baseline questionnaire was obtained. Atopy assessment, central temperature and a spirometric measurement were recorded. EBT was measured with a new device (Delmedica, Singapore). A nasal wash (for identification of common respiratory viruses) was obtained.

Results: Twenty-four children (12 from each group) completed the study. Groups were homogeneous with respect to baseline characteristics. PCR revealed the presence of a virus in 3 out of 17 controls and 10 out of 12 cases (17.6 and 83.3%, respectively, p = 0.002). The most commonly identified virus was rhinovirus (3/3 controls and 7/10 cases, p = 0.02). EBT values were significantly higher for cases (34.91 +/- 0.62 degrees C) compared to controls (34.18 +/- 1.1 degrees C, p = 0.032). No important differences were observed in the increase rate of EBT (Deltae degrees T) between groups.

Conclusions: Changes in airway inflammation during virus-induced asthma exacerbations are reflected in EBT changes. These preliminary data suggest a possible role of EBT measurements in the assessment of airway inflammation in children with virus-induced asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Body Temperature*
  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Common Cold / complications*
  • Common Cold / virology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Respiratory System / immunology
  • Respiratory System / physiopathology
  • Rhinovirus / isolation & purification