Nitric oxide in exhaled air (FENO) is a marker of airway inflammation in asthma. This study was undertaken to determine whether FENO increases as a result of stress.
This study was a prospective, unblinded study in an office setting. 20 adult asthmatics were recruited to participate. Subjects were initially put into a relaxed state using a progressive relaxation technique. They were then put into a stressful state by asking them to complete complicated mathematical problems.
FENO was measured using standard techniques after relaxation and after stress. Pulse was monitored during the stressful intervention. FENO significantly increased after stress. Mean +/-Standard Deviation (SD) for baseline FENO was 2.9 +/- 2.1. After stress, mean +/- SD FENO rose to 3.1 +/- 2.1. This was significant by paired test. (p= 0.03).
A stressful situation can cause an immediate increase in the inflammatory state of the airways in adult asthmatics, as measured by FENO.
This study provides insight into the mechanism in which a psychological stress could lead to worsening asthma.
Jonathan Ilowite, None.