Tuberc Respir Dis.  2020 Jul;83(3):234-241. 10.4046/trd.2019.0086.

Clinical Features of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease with High Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide

  • 1Division of Pulmonology, Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea


The fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) test is useful in asthma patients. However, a few studies on its usefulness in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients have been reported. We analyzed the FENO level distribution and clinical characteristics according to the FENO level in COPD patients.
From December 2014 to June 2019, COPD patients who underwent pulmonary function and FENO tests at Chonnam National University Hospital were retrospectively evaluated for FENO, comorbidities, asthma history, blood eosinophil, and pulmonary function test. The high FENO group was defined as those with FENO level>25 parts per billion (ppb).
A total of 849 COPD patients (mean age, 70.3±9.4 years) were included. The mean forced expiratory volume at 1 second was 66.5±21.7% and the mean FENO level was 24.3±20.5 ppb. Patients with FENO ≤25 ppb were 572 (67.4%) and those with FENO >25 ppb were 277 (32.6%). Blood eosinophil percentage was significantly higher (4.2±4.8 vs. 2.7±2.5, p<0.001) in patients with the high FENO group than the low FENO group. The high FENO group revealed a significantly higher frequency of patients with blood eosinophil percentage >3% (46.9% vs. 34.8%, p=0.001) and asthma history (25.6% vs. 8.6%, p<0.001) than the lower FENO group. Asthma history, blood eosinophil percentage >3%, and positive bronchodilator response (BDR) were independent risk factors for the high FENO level (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.85; p<0.001; aOR, 1.46; p=0.017; and aOR, 1.57, p=0.034, respectively) in the multivariable analysis.
The FENO level distribution varied in COPD patients and the mean FENO value was slightly elevated. Asthma history, eosinophil percent, and positive BDR were independent risk factors for the high FENO level.


Nitric Oxide; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive; Asthma-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Overlap Syndrome
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