Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) is a useful and noninvasive biomarker for eosinophilic airway inflammation, particularly in asthma. However, its utility in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains controversial. In this study, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate FENO levels in COPD.
A search of PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and clinical trial registry was conducted from inception to January 2018. Studies were included if they reported FENO levels in patients with COPD and healthy controls. We then extracted relevant information and analyzed data. Standard mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was applied in this meta-analysis.
A total of 2,073 studies were reviewed for eligibility, with 24 studies pooled for analysis. The FENO levels in patients with COPD were elevated mildly compared with healthy controls (SMD 1.28, 95% CI 0.60–1.96). A similar result was also observed in stable COPD, with an SMD of 1.21 (95% CI 0.47–1.96). On the other hand, we found no association between FENO levels and exacerbated COPD. Additionally, for patients with COPD, ex-smokers had higher levels of FENO than current smokers (SMD 2.05, 95% CI 1.13–2.97).