A new report published by the United States Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) says fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) testing is a valuable part of comprehensive asthma diagnosis and management.

The report, “The Clinical Utility of Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) in Asthma Management,” states FeNO results can help predict which patients will respond to inhaled corticosteroid therapy, and reinforces the association between a positive FeNO test result and an accurate asthma diagnosis in people 5 years and older.

The research found that FeNO diagnosis accuracy was higher among children ages 5-18 and nonsmokers than other patients suspected to have asthma.

Importantly, the AHRQ report states that regularly using FeNO measurements to help manage long-term control medications, including monitoring of adherence, can reduce the frequency of exacerbations.

Asthma is one of the top 20 leading diagnosis groups for primary care visits in the United States in 2012 and a primary reason for 1.8 million emergency department visits and 439,000 hospitalizations, according to the AHRQ report. Although the severity of disease varies among patients, asthma can be fatal, accounting for approximately 3,600 deaths per year.

Circassia Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which markets its NIOX® device for point-of-care FeNO asthma measurement, says the AHRQ report is a timely addition to the growing body of evidence supporting the use of FeNO testing for asthma diagnosis and management.

“The ability to predict which asthma patients will respond to corticosteroid therapy, and how well that therapy is working to reduce the frequency of exacerbations is powerful information for clinicians,” said Bradley Chipps, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist and allergist, and president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “It is exciting to see the AHRQ report support FeNO testing as a tool that can truly benefit asthma patients and improve outcomes, particularly for children.”

“The AHRQ report is welcome news for both clinicians and their patients, who have the right to high quality, evidence-based healthcare. I am looking forward to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute using the evidence report to help develop future clinical guidelines for the use of FeNO in the diagnosis and management of asthma,” said Tonya Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network.