October - December 2011: 
Volume 24, Issue 4

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Pneumon 2011, 24(4):430-444
Non invasive assessment of severe asthma
SUMMARY. Many non invasive measurements are available that can help in the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of severe asthma. The fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) helps in identification of severe asthma phenotypes, assessment of asthma control and detection of types of asthma that will benefit from treatment with corticosteroids or that will need tailored therapy with new drugs. Induced sputum examination is used mainly for distinguishing between the eosinophilic and other phenotypes, and for the monitoring of treatment. High resolution computed tomography (HRCT) of the chest helps to confirm the diagnosis of severe asthma and to detect underlying diseases, and is useful for monitoring airways remodelling. Questionnaires are used in the assessment of asthma control. Other methods, such as the electronic nose (e-nose) and exhaled breath condensate show promise of being useful. These non-invasive methods are very important in the assessment and management of severe asthma, taking into account that although asthma is generally a benign disease, severe asthma is very difficult to treat and requires constant monitoring. Invasive methods have limited utility for severe asthma monitoring since they are not suitable for repeated sampling. Pneumon 2011, 24(4):430-444.