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Background & objectivesThe diagnostic value of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) in patients with asthma remains controversial. This study was aimed to re-evaluate the diagnostic value of FeNO in specific groups with asthma and identify potential factors associated with FeNO.MethodsFeNO measurement and bronchial provocation test (BPT) or bronchodilator test (BDT) were performed in patients with suggestive symptoms for asthma. Correlation analysis was performed, and receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves and area under the curve (AUC) were calculated to evaluate the accuracy of FeNO in diagnosis.ResultsA total of 265 (66.3%) patients with asthma were identified in 400 individuals suspected to have asthma from October 2014 to June 2015. Positive correlations of gender (r=0.138, P=0.005), atopy (r=0.598, P <0.001) and rhinitis (r=0.485, P <0.001) but negative correlations of age (r=-0.220, P <0.001) and the cumulative methacholine dosage with a 20 per cent decrease in forced expiratory volume in one second (r=-0.197, P <0.001) with FeNO were found. AUC of FeNO in whole population and patients with atopy and rhinitis was 0.728 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.675-0.781, P <0.001] and 0.752 (95% CI 0.640-0.865, P <0.001), while the cut-offs were 23.5 and 44.5 parts per billion (ppb), respectively, rendering sensitivities, specificities, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of 79.9, 54.7, 77.9, 58.1 and 78.7, 67.9, 89.2 and 48.7 per cent, respectively. The cut-off of FeNO with specificity of 90 per cent (FeNO90) for all patients and a sub-group of patients with atopy and rhinitis was 59.5 and 90.5 ppb, respectively, while FeNO90decreased by 12 ppb with every 10 years.Interpretation & conclusions: Our findings show that the diagnostic value of FeNO varies in different groups of patients with asthma, thus, the cut-off point should be adjusted in different asthmatic sub-populations. A cut-off point of FeNO with a specificity >90 per cent could decrease the false-positive rate.

Original publication




Journal article


The Indian journal of medical research

Publication Date





441 - 448


Department of Respiratory Diseases, The Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou, PR China.


Humans, Asthma, Rhinitis, Nitric Oxide, False Positive Reactions, Breath Tests, Bronchial Provocation Tests, Forced Expiratory Volume, Area Under Curve, Case-Control Studies, Predictive Value of Tests, ROC Curve, Age Factors, Sex Factors, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Young Adult