Increased Exhaled Nitric Oxide in Wind and Brass Musicians


  • Anita Fuhrmann BMusEd (Hons), PhD
  • Graham Hall BApplSci, PhD
  • Peter Franklin BSc (Hons), PhD



Playing a wind or brass (W/B) instrument is considered a strenuous activity for the respiratory system. Exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a potential marker of airway inflammation, and the aim of this study was to compare levels of FeNO between W/B musicians to a group of people who did not play these instruments. Eighty-three (41 male) nonsmoking, nonasthmatic subjects, aged between 18 and 60 years, participated in the study. Forty-one played a W/B instrument, and 42 either played a non–wind/ brass (NW/B) instrument or no instrument at all. Subjects completed a respiratory health questionnaire, height and weight mea- surements, skin prick tests (SPTs), and FeNO measurements. FeNO levels were increased in W/B musicians compared to NW/B subjects (23.6 ppb and 18.1 ppb, respectively). After adjusting for age, sex, height, and degree of atopy, this difference approached statistical significance (P 1⁄4 .06). Increased FeNO may indicate subclinical airway inflammation in W/B musicians.

Author Biographies

Anita Fuhrmann, BMusEd (Hons), PhD

Anita Fuhrmann, BMusEd (Hons), PhD, completed her PhD project on lung health in wind musicians and now teaches music in primary and secondary schools in Perth, Western Australia.

Graham Hall, BApplSci, PhD

Graham Hall, BApplSci, PhD, is a respiratory physiologist and is the senior respiratory scientist in the Respiratory Department of Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, Western Australia.

Peter Franklin, BSc (Hons), PhD

Peter Franklin, BSc (Hons), PhD, is an environmental and occupational epidemiologist and is the director of the Occupational Respiratory Epidemiology Research Group at the School of Population Health, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia.



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