Pulmonary infections increase exhaled nitric oxide in lung transplant recipients: A longitudinal study

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The aim of this longitudinal study was to test whether pulmonary infections influence fractional exhaled nitric oxide levels (FENO) in otherwise clinically-stable lung transplant recipients. Levels of FENO were measured at least on 11 occasions in nine lung transplant recipients who attended for routine or urgent clinical review over 27.0 ± 3.2 months period. Diagnosis of infection was based on clinical symptoms, functional measurements and radiological findings. Concentrations of FENO were also determined in 12 healthy volunteers. During follow-up, six patients had one, two had three, and one had four episodes of pulmonary infections. Overall, six upper and 10 lower respiratory tract infections were noted. Recipients with active infections developed increased FENO levels as compared with their own baseline levels measured in the clinically well period (10.8 ± 1.3 vs. 7.6 ± 1.1 ppb, p < 0.05). After antibiotic treatment, elevated FENO concentrations returned to baseline in association with full clinical recovery. Baseline FENO levels in lung transplant recipients and in healthy volunteers (6.0 ± 0.5 ppb) were similar. The sensitivity and specificity of FENO measurement in detecting pulmonary infections were 57 and 96%, respectively. Our data suggest that pulmonary infections are associated with increased FENO levels in patients with lung allografts. Nevertheless, the measurement of FENO by itself as a screening tool for infections seems to be limited by its low sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-382
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2005



  • Exhaled
  • Infection
  • Lung transplantation
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation

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