Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a condition in which fluid leaks into the lungs and builds up in the alveoli within. It is a rapidly progressive condition that often leads to terminal consequences, yet it can be difficult to diagnose and monitor.
Now, researchers at University of Michigan have developed a portable device that analyzes a patient’s breath to provide quick and objective results that can help to manage the disease.
The gas chromatography system is about the size of a briefcase. It can perform its analysis from start to finish in about a half hour, providing results with about 90% accuracy when compared with existing methods. This is significantly better than using blood tests and looking for changes in chest X-rays.
The new device connects to the exhalation port of a ventilator, sampling for about 100 different organic compounds as they are exhaled by the patient. The system detects and measures the concentrations of these compounds and provides continuous readings to clinicians.
The technology has already been trialed in 48 patients, of whom 21 had ARDS, in a clinical setting. Here’s some details from the study abstract in journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry:
Ninety-seven elution peaks were separated and detected in 13 min. An algorithm based on machine learning, principal component analysis (PCA), and linear discriminant analysis (LDA) was developed. As compared to the adjudications done by physicians based on the Berlin criteria, our device and algorithm achieved an overall accuracy of 87.1% with 94.1% positive predictive value and 82.4% negative predictive value. The high overall accuracy and high positive predicative value suggest that the breath analysis method can accurately diagnose ARDS.
Study in journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry: Rapid breath analysis for acute respiratory distress syndrome diagnostics using a portable two-dimensional gas chromatography device