Background: The measurement of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) can assist in the diagnosis of asthma and may also act as a useful surrogate inflammatory marker on which to base treatment decisions in asthma management algorithms. Until recently, this technique was confined to research facilities and secondary care institutions. A portable nitric oxide analyzer (MINO; Aerocrine AB; Smidesvägen, Sweden) has been developed, but few data exist comparing this device with established, larger laboratory-based analyzers (NIOX; Aerocrine AB).
Methods: A total of 101 asthmatic patients (64 treated with regular inhaled corticosteroids) and 50 healthy volunteers had simultaneous FENO measurements undertaken using NIOX and MINO devices.
Results: In both asthmatic patients and healthy volunteers, there was a good correlation between the measurements obtained using each device (r = 0.94 and 0.96, respectively). Altman-Bland plots confirmed this agreement. Receiver operating characteristic curves discriminating asthmatic patients from healthy volunteers obtained using the NIOX and MINO showed a sensitivity of 83.2% and a specificity of 72% using cutoff values of 13 and 12.5 parts per billion, respectively.
Conclusion: FENO values obtained using a portable analyzer correlate well with those obtained using an established laboratory analyzer and can be used to discriminate asthmatic from nonasthmatic patients. This may facilitate the measurement of asthmatic airway inflammation in primary care.