BACKGROUND: Exhaled breath temperature (EBT) reflects airways (both eosinophilic and neutrophilic) inflammation in asthma and thus may aid the management of children with asthma that are treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. A new EBT monitor has become available that is cheap and easy to use and may be a suitable monitoring device for airways inflammation. Little is known about how EBT relates to asthma treatment decisions, disease control, lung function, or other non-invasive measures of airways inflammation, such as exhaled nitric oxide (ENO).
OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationships between EBT and asthma treatment decision, current control, pulmonary function, and ENO.
METHODS: Cross-sectional prospective study on 159 children aged 5-16 years attending a pediatric respiratory clinic. EBT was compared with the clinician's decision regarding treatment (decrease, no change, increase), asthma control assessment (controlled, partial, uncontrolled), level of current treatment (according to British Thoracic Society guideline, BTS step), ENO, and spirometry.
RESULTS: EBT measurement was feasible in the majority of children (25 of 159 could not perform the test) and correlated weakly with age (R = 0.33, P = <0.01). EBT did not differ significantly between the three clinician decision groups (P = 0.42), the three asthma control assessment groups (P = 0.9), or the current asthma treatment BTS step (P = 0.57).
CONCLUSIONS & CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: EBT measurement was not related to measures of asthma control determined at the clinic. The routine intermittent monitoring of EBT in children prescribed inhaled corticosteroids who attend asthma clinics cannot be recommended for adjusting anti-inflammatory asthma therapy.