The test, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), measures nitric oxide levels in your breath. Dr. McCormick has been using this test in his clinic for his asthma patients for the past 2-3 years. Obtaining a FeNO level is painless and simple to perform. The patient exhales 6-8 seconds into the breathing tube on the FeNO machine just as you would blow into a pulmonary function testing tube. After approximately a 1 minute, the machine calculates the results and they are available to Dr. McCormick.
Dr. McCormick feels obtaining the patient’s nitric oxide level provides him yet another piece of the puzzle to help with the patient’s asthma control:
- Is the patient’s asthma controlled?
- Is inflammation present in the airways?
- What level of lung inflammation is present?
- Are the prescribed medications working?
- Is the patient’s inhaler technique correct?
- Is the patient keeping up with their medications?
- Would a medication change provide better control?
- Is the patient exposed to high levels of allergens
Asthma is one of the world’s most common and costly diseases, affecting 8-10% of the population and costing over $50 billion annually in the US alone. Although there is no known cure for asthma, proper diagnosis and management are key to physicians effectively treating asthma patients.