A one-minute breath test could speed up the diagnosis of lung disease and help patients get the right treatment.
The handset measures the hydrogen peroxide content in the breath. Hydrogen peroxide is best known as a bleaching agent in hair dyes, but is also naturally produced by the body where it is a telltale sign of respiratory tract inflammation.
Measuring the patient's hydrogen peroxide content could be a quick help to physicians and easy way to detect lung disease.
The device is being tested on NHS patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Did you know? A one-minute breath test could speed up the diagnosis of lung disease and help patients get the right treatment.
Thousands of patients with COPD have misdiagnosed asthma (and received the wrong treatment), as Good Health recently reported. A non-invasive test could help to quickly distinguish the two states.
A common feature of COPD and asthma is the inflammation of the respiratory tract. Both diseases involve different inflammatory cells, and the inflammation seen in asthma is mainly in the larger airways, while COPD mainly affects the small airways and lungs.
The device measures the lower neutrophilic inflammation associated with asthma. The main instrument for measuring airway inflammation is fibreoptic bronchoscopy, an invasive procedure in which a fine tube is inserted into the lung passages with a camera at the end of the neck.
With instruments, tissue and fluid samples can be taken to be passed through the tube. Patients may find the procedure uncomfortable despite sedation. Possible complications include bleeding, infections and irritation of the respiratory tract. In contrast, with the new breath test called the Inflammacheck, the patient simply breathes up to one minute or about 20 breaths into the battery-powered device.
A sensor in the device measures the hydrogen peroxide in the exhaled breath. Hydrogen peroxide is produced as part of the body's immune response.
It sends immune cells called neutrophils to the damaged areas where they then remove damaged tissue and cause inflammation.
This causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, a feeling of tightness in the chest and other s Symptoms of COPD are similar and patients may need to clear their mouths first in the morning as there is too much lung mucus.
There may also be a chronic cough that can produce clear, white and yellow mucus, or greenish.
The device is being tested in a 12-month study on 90 volunteers at the Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust – some suffer from asthma or COPD, others are healthy.
It is hoped that it will speed up the diagnosis and will help provide valuable information about how well the treatments work.
The researchers said: "It can give physicians an immediate insight into the inflammatory state of the respiratory tract and have the potential to identify specific inflammations that would guide the treatment decision. This could support earlier diagnoses and personalized management plans and improve patient care. "
Professor Pallav Shah, consulting physician at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, said:" This is a consistent method for measuring the inflammatory activity of neutrophils.
"Its clinical value must be proven, but it is a promising research tool."
According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, the cutting out of soft drinks could reduce the risk of asthma.
Researchers in Qatar The University analyzed data from nearly 1,000 people. Those who had soft drinks seven times a week were 2.6 times more likely to have asthma than non-consumers.
One theory is that compounds in carbonated drinks, possibly preservatives, potentiate inflammation in the airways.