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Clinical Investigations: ASTHMA |

Breath Condensate pH in Children With Cystic Fibrosis and Asthma*: A New Noninvasive Marker of Airway Inflammation?

Giovanna E. Carpagnano, MD; Peter J. Barnes, MD, DM, Dsc; Jackie Francis; Nicola Wilson, MD; Andrew Bush, MD; Sergei A. Kharitonov, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Thoracic Medicine, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, UK.

Correspondence to: Sergei A. Kharitonov, MD, PhD, Department of Thoracic Medicine, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College, Dovehouse St, London SW3 6LY, UK; email: s.kharitonov@imperial.ac.uk



Chest. 2004;125(6):2005-2010. doi:10.1378/chest.125.6.2005
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Study objectives: The noninvasive assessment and monitoring of airway inflammation could be important in respiratory disease. The pH of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) is a promising marker. Although pH has been measured in the EBC of adults with inflammatory airway diseases, no study has measured this in children.

Design: This study aimed to assess whether there is a change in pH in the EBC of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) and asthma, and to try to determine whether pH could be used as a marker of airway inflammation. Furthermore, the relationships among EBC pH, severity of disease, and oxidative stress were studied.

Patients and methods: We studied 20 children with CF (mean [± SEM] age, 7 ± 3 years), 20 children with asthma (mean age, 7 ± 2 years), and 15 age-matched healthy children (mean age, 7 ± 2 years). The pH of EBC was measured using a pH meter.

Measurements and results: Lower pH values were observed in the EBC of children with CF and asthma compared to control subjects (mean pH, 7.23 ± 0.03 and 7.42 ± 0.01 vs 7.85 ± 0.02, respectively). Furthermore, relationships among EBC pH, severity of asthma, and the presence of an infective exacerbation of CF was found. There was a negative correlation between exhaled pH and exhaled leukotriene B4 concentrations (r = −0.5; p < 0.005).

Conclusion: We conclude that the measurement of EBC pH may be useful in the evaluation of airway inflammation in children with asthma and CF.

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