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At Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of this test and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the test and how you can help.
Nitric oxide is a gas that is produced naturally in the lungs when we breathe. Children who do not have asthma have low levels of nitric oxide in their breath when they exhale (breathe out). When airways become inflamed (swollen), the lungs produce higher levels of nitric oxide. The exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) test can detect these higher levels and help the doctor confirm a diagnosis of asthma in a patient. The results of the test also can help the doctor find out how well inhaled anti-inflammatory medications called corticosteroids (KOOR-tick-co-STARE-oids) are working in patients who have been diagnosed with a chronic cough or asthma.
In asthma, airways become narrowed because the bronchial tubes in the lungs begin to swell in reaction to certain things. This narrowing can be triggered by such things as pollens, mold, animal dander, dust mites, vapors and chemicals, or by a respiratory infection (cold or flu). Untreated or uncontrolled asthma can cause the bronchial tubes to swell, which makes breathing very difficult and can cause a life-threatening situation and even death.
To keep children with asthma breathing well, it is important to find the right combination of medications in the right doses to control their asthma. The eNO test results, when compared over several doctor’s appointments over time, can be an effective way to make sure that a child is getting the right medications in the right amounts to keep him or her breathing well.
No preparation is required before eNO testing.
The eNO testing is done through the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology of Children’s Hospital in Oakland. This test may be done on its own, as part of another appointment, or while your child is a patient in the hospital.
After you have registered your child at the desk, you will be asked to sit in the waiting area.
• Your child may wear normal clothes to the test.
• Your wait time will vary depending on how many children are being seen that day and the type of test that has been ordered for your child. Since every child is different, the length of time needed to do each test also will vary. Please be patient with the medical staff.
You will be joined in the examining room by a pulmonary function technician. The eNO test will be performed by the technician. The results will be reviewed by a doctor.
During the eNO Test
The most important role of a parent or guardian during the test is to help your child stay calm and relaxed. The best way to help your child stay calm is for you to stay calm.
After the eNO Test
Your child may resume normal activities immediately, unless otherwise directed by the doctor. There are no side effects from eNO testing.
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor or pulmonary function technician performing the test needs to know about, please call the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh before the test and ask to speak with a pulmonary function technician. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.
Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children’s Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
With myCHP, you can request appointments, review test results, and more.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.