Untargeted molecular analysis of exhaled breath as a diagnostic test for ventilator-associated lower respiratory tract infections (BreathDx)

Pouline MP van Oort, Tamara M Nijsen, Iain R White, Hugo H Knobel, Timothy Felton, Nicholas Rattray, Oluwasola Lawal, Mustaza Bulut, Waqar Ahmed, Antonio Artigas, Pedro R Povoa, Ignacio Martin-Loeches, Hans Weda, Royston Goodacre, Marcus J Schultz, Paul M Dark, Stephen J Fowler, Lieuwe D Bos

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Patients suspected of ventilator-associated lower respiratory tract infections (VA-LRTIs) commonly receive broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy unnecessarily. We tested whether exhaled breath analysis can discriminate between patients suspected of VA-LRTI with confirmed infection, from patients with negative cultures. Breath from 108 patients suspected of VA-LRTI was analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The breath test had a sensitivity of 98% at a specificity of 49%, confirmed with a second analytical method. The breath test had a negative predictive value of 96% and excluded pneumonia in half of the patients with negative cultures. Trial registration number: UKCRN ID number 19086, registered May 2015
Original languageEnglish
Article number217362
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2021


  • antimicrobial resistance
  • metabolomics
  • intensive care
  • lower respiratory tract

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