BACKGROUND: Despite the widespread use of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) as a biomarker of airways inflammation, there are no published papers describing normal FENO values in a large group of healthy adults. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to establish adult FENO reference values according to the international guidelines. METHODS: FENO was measured in 204 healthy, non-smoking adults with normal spirometry values using the on-line single-breath technique, and the results were analysed chemiluminescently. RESULTS: The main result of the study was the significant difference in FENO values between men and women, thus indicating that gender-based reference FENO values are necessary. The FENO levels obtained at expiratory flows of 50 ml/s ranged from 2.6 to 28.8 ppb in men, and from 1.6 to 21.5 ppb in women. CONCLUSION: We propose reference FENO values for healthy adult men and women that could be used for clinical and research purposes.
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