Approximately 20 years after the initial report of the measurement of exhaled nitric oxide (NO) in the exhaled air of humans, numerous publications have evaluated the possible applications of the fraction of exhaled NO (FeNO) in patients with asthma. The aim of the present review is to evaluate the technical issues and confounding factors related to FeNO measurements, as well as the role of FeNO in the diagnosis of asthma, the evaluation of asthmatic patients and the guidance of treatment. Several other issues, including the pursuit for “normal” and best personal values, the prediction of clinically relevant asthma outcomes and the identification of asthma phenotypes and future directions are discussed. FeNO represents the only exhaled biomarker that has reached clinical practice even in primary care settings and this review provides a critical view of the possible applications of this biomarker, both for the basic researcher and the clinician.
Keywords: Exhaled nitric oxide, asthma, airway inflammation, asthma phenotypes, biomarker, phenotypes, inflammation, airway, chemoattractant, eosinophils, FeNO measurements, Endogenous, S-nitrosothiols