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Nitric oxide tests can screen for asthma

Measuring the fraction of exhaled nitric oxide in young adults with a portable device is an effective way of screening for asthma, say Greek researchers.

Tests were done in 149 university students with at least one respiratory symptom of asthma and 70 controls – judging the effectiveness of screening against spirometry testing and physician evaluation of asthma.

Exaled nitric oxide values under19 ppb had a specificity of 85% and sensitivity of 52% for the diagnosis of asthma across all participants, although the results were more accurate in non-smokers. But the researchers warned allergic rhinitis was a confounding factor.

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