Annelies M. Zwitserloot, Frank A. Verhoog, Maarten van den Berge, Monika Gappa, Helma W. Oosterom, Brigitte W. M. Willemse, Gerard H. Koppelman

Comparison of particles in exhaled air and multiple breath washout for assessment of small airway function in children with cystic fibrosis

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health

AbstractBackgroundThe introduction of modulator therapy for cystic fibrosis (CF) has led to an increased interest in the detection of small airway disease (SAD) as sensitive marker of treatment response. The particles in exhaled air (PExA) method, which records exhaled particle mass (PEx ng/L) and number (PExNR), detects SAD in adult patients. Our primary aim was to investigate if PExA outcomes in children with CF are different when compared to controls and associated with more severe disease. Secondary aims were to assess feasibility and repeatability of PExA in children with CF and to correlate PExA to multiple breath nitrogen washout (MBNW) as an established marker of SAD.MethodsThirteen healthy children (HC), 17 children with CF with normal lung function (CF‐N) (FEV1 z‐score ≥ −1.64) and six with airway obstruction (CF‐AO) (FEV1 z‐score < −1.64) between 8 and 18 years performed MBNW followed by PExA and spirometry. Children with CF repeated the measurements after 3 months.ResultsPEx ng/L and PExNR/L per liter of exhaled breath were similar between the three groups. The lung clearance index (LCI) was significantly higher in both CF‐N and CF‐AO compared to HC. All participants, except one, were able to perform PExA. Coefficient of variation for PEx ng/l was (median) 0.38, range 0–1.25 and PExNR/l 0.38, 0–1.09. Correlation between LCI and PEx ng/l was low, rs 0.32 (p = .07).ConclusionPExA is feasible in children. In contrast to LCI, PExA did not differentiate healthy children from children with CF suggesting it to be a less sensitive tool to detect SAD.

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