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Identifying volatile metabolite signatures for the diagnosis of bacterial respiratory tract infection using electronic nose technology: A pilot study

Lewis, Joseph ORCID:, Savage, Richard S., Beeching, Nicholas ORCID:, Beadsworth, Mike, Feasey, Nicholas ORCID: and Covington, James A. (2017) 'Identifying volatile metabolite signatures for the diagnosis of bacterial respiratory tract infection using electronic nose technology: A pilot study'. PLoS ONE, Vol 12, Issue 12, e0188879.

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New point of care diagnostics are urgently needed to reduce the over-prescription of antimicrobials for bacterial respiratory tract infection (RTI). We performed a pilot cross sectional study to assess the feasibility of gas-capillary column ion mobility spectrometer (GC-IMS), for the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in exhaled breath to diagnose bacterial RTI in hospital inpatients.

71 patients were prospectively recruited from the Acute Medical Unit of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital between March and May 2016 and classified as confirmed or probable bacterial or viral RTI on the basis of microbiologic, biochemical and radiologic testing. Breath samples were collected at the patient’s bedside directly into the electronic nose device, which recorded a VOC spectrum for each sample. Sparse principal component analysis and sparse logistic regression were used to develop a diagnostic model to classify VOC spectra as being caused by bacterial or non-bacterial RTI.

Summary area under the receiver operator characteristic curve was 0.73 (95% CI 0.61–0.86), summary sensitivity and specificity were 62% (95% CI 41–80%) and 80% (95% CI 64–91%) respectively (p = 0.00147).

GC-IMS analysis of exhaled VOC for the diagnosis of bacterial RTI shows promise in this pilot study and further trials are warranted to assess this technique.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QV Pharmacology > Anti-Inflammatory Agents. Anti-Infective Agents. Antineoplastic Agents > QV 250 Anti-infective agents (General)
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Viral Respiratory Tract Infections. Respirovirus Infections > WC 505 Viral respiratory tract infections
WF Respiratory System > WF 140 Diseases of the respiratory system (General)
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Pubrouter
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2018 14:37
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 12:00


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