Coastal Allergy Care is proud and excited to announce the “reintroduction” of FeNO testing in our office. We have had this test in the past and now have the opportunity to offer this test again. We are always searching for the latest technology and strive to offer our patients the best diagnostics and monitoring available for allergy and asthma. Along with our current asthma monitoring tools, medication, Allergy immunotherapy, trigger avoidance, and medications, the NIOX VERO will add an additional measure for us to follow. This device will give us information about the amount of inflammation and potential response to specific treatment for asthma. This test is simple, non-invasive, painless, and covered by many insurance companies. It can have many benefits, such as finding the appropriate time to lower asthma medication, adjusting medication based on your FeNO levels, insight into current treatment efficacy, early identification of a potential asthma flare, and helping to differentiate allergic asthma from other lung diseases.
As most of you know asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. It can cause recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The CDC’s latest data on asthma morbidity estimates that there are 17.7 million adults and 6.3 million children with asthma in the US alone. Asthmatics account for about 10.5 million visits to primary care physicians, and 1.8 million visits to emergency departments per year. This resulted in an annual cost of asthma of $56 billion in the US in 2007, and continues to increase.
Physicians are responsible for assessing and monitoring asthma severity and asthma control. To best be able to do so, assessment utilizing both subjective (interview) and objective (traditional lung function measurements, peak flow) measures is important. The problem arises when clinical assessment via interviews become misleading, or objective test results (ie PFTs) are erroneous due to poor patient technique or misinterpretation. Recent studies have been concluded on the potential value of measuring biomarkers such as fractionated exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) from the lungs. It has been as a research tool for over a decade and the apparatus used (Niox) is US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved.
Overall, FeNO guided asthma therapy has been shown to result in significant reductions in acute exacerbations in both adults and children. It is also a great tool when the diagnosis of asthma or patient compliance is in question. Not only is FeNO testing easy and quick, it is inexpensive and clinically useful, as evidenced by recent reviews.
Here are links to abstracts reviewing the utility of this test.