FeNO measurement for reliable and uncomplicated asthma control in children
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases, both in adults and children. Around 10 percent of children and adolescents in Germany suffer from asthma. Boys, by the way, are more likely to be affected than girls. In about half of all adolescents, symptoms decrease or disappear altogether when they reach the end of puberty. However, according to a from 2018, the number of asthma cases increases again from the mid-30s onwards.
Does my child have asthma – and how can I tell?
Especially if you have a family history of asthma or allergic diseases, you should watch out for any changes in your baby or toddler. Your pediatrician should also be made aware of such pre-existing conditions.
Possible symptoms include:
- whistling breathing noises when the child does not have a cold or when they cry or laugh
- conspicuous breathing noises after exercise (in older children)
- a dry cough, which becomes worse at night or during exertion
- frequent colds, stomach pain, loss of appetite
Ring any alarm bells? If so, you should definitely talk to your pediatrician!
Important to know: What type of asthma does my child suffer from?
Not all asthma is the same. It is therefore important that you ask your doctor what type of asthma your child suffers from. If your child has allergic asthma, the symptoms are triggered by inherently harmless substances such as pollen or house dust.
In non-allergic asthma, an attack tends to be triggered by unspecific stimuli, such as special medication, cold air, or infections. And in mixed forms, your child will react with asthma symptoms equally to certain allergens as well as to unspecific triggers.
Constant control is the key to a carefree life
All types of asthma have one thing in common: continuous monitoring enables doctors to optimally dose medications and thus significantly alleviate symptoms, allowing your child to lead an (almost) normal life. Measuring the is particularly helpful in cases of allergic asthma. Knowledge of the FeNO value can improve follow-up monitoring and control of the asthma by medication. Deteriorations can be detected early and the risk of asthma attacks can be reduced.
FeNO value – what is it and why does it matter?
The FeNO value provides information about the amount of nitric oxide (NO) in your child’s exhaled breath. FeNO measurement is one of the standard diagnostic procedures for asthma. Exhaled NO is a reliable indicator for determining the extent of inflammation in the airways: the higher the FeNO value, the more severe the allergic inflammation.
with is an ideal and easy-to-perform way of checking the degree of your child’s inflammation at home. Declining FeNO values indicate that the therapy is having the desired response. Increasing values mean the treatment may need to be adjusted.
Peak flow measurement and FeNO measurement – what are the differences?
Peak flow measurement is a simple and common method of monitoring asthma at home. The peak flow values indicate whether your child’s bronchi are constricted and if so, how severely. However, a statement about the actual degree of inflammation is only possible to a limited extent. The peak expiratory flow (PEF) is a comparative value that is set in relation to the personal best value. The peak flow value tells us something about the degree of narrowing of the airways and only provides indirect information about the current inflammatory processes in the airways. Since the measurement is not a calibrated procedure and is highly dependent on the patient’s cooperation, the measurement results may vary depending on the state of health and individual performance. The reference measurement values also depend on height and weight, and must be constantly adjusted as your child grows.
FeNO measurement allows a rapid response
This is one advantage of FeNO measurement over peak flow measurement:
The FeNO value indicates a deterioration much earlier – even if your child isn’t yet showing any symptoms.
The FeNO value provides you with a measured value that reflects the current inflammatory status of the bronchial tubes. In this way, inflammation-relevant changes can be detected early, even before your child feels any effects.
A study1 conducted by the University of Texas, USA, with asthmatic children speaks of an increase in FeNO values as much as 10 days before there is actually a deterioration (exacerbation).
With this knowledge and in consultation with your doctor, you can adjust the medication dose to counteract any possible worsening of your child’s condition. The doctor can tailor the therapy to your child’s individual needs in order to avoid undesirable side effects as far as possible and to monitor its effectiveness.
With Vivatmo me* you have a reliable overview of your child’s FeNO value
Regular monitoring of the FeNO value is recommended because the value shows you how severe the inflammation in your child’s lungs currently is. Over time you will recognize trends: If the values go up, this may indicate a deterioration. If the values decrease, this suggests that your child is responding well to medication. This additional information is reassuring for both you and your child.
With Vivatmo me* you can now quickly and reliably check the FeNO value in your child’s exhaled breath within seconds from the comfort of your own home. A visit to the doctor is not necessary.
It couldn’t be simpler
Using Vivatmo me* is literally child’s play: All they need to do is breathe out evenly for 10 seconds through the single-use mouthpiece into the device. Primary school children, i.e. from around the age of 7, can usually manage the breathing maneuver with no problem. The LED display on the Vivatmo me* shows you whether your child is blowing correctly. The result is displayed immediately after the measurement – quickly, clearly and stress-free for your child.
What else you can do for your child
- Sensitize your child to avoid situations and triggers for asthma attacks. Help your child find the right sport. Sport keeps us fit and strengthens our lungs. For example, asthmatic children can participate in physical education if they warm up well and take breaks. Discuss this with their sports teacher.
- Make sure that your child can handle their medication independently and correctly. In particular, you should discuss the use of emergency medication with your child.
- Together with your child, learn special breathing techniques that support breathing in case of shortness of breath.
Please note: An asthma attack in children under 12 years of age with severe shortness of breath is always an emergency. An emergency doctor must therefore be alerted immediately, indicating acute respiratory distress.
* recommended for children from about 7 years of age
1 An Overview of Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide and Children with Asthma Devika R. Rao and Wanda Phipatanakul et al, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas