Objectives Smelling to establish diagnoses has been practiced in clinical medicine since ancient times. Nowadays, an electronic nose has been successfully used for detection of organic compounds in food and perfume industry. The aim of this study was to test whether exhaled breath analyzed with an artificial nose could identify and discriminate between different lung diseases.
Methods 62 individuals: 25 asthma, 13 lung cancer, 13 pneumonia, 12 other lung disease patients and 10 healthy volunteers were tested. Exhaled air was collected in plastic bags and immediately analyzed by an electronic nose instrument (9185, Nordic Sensors AB) containing 14 different odour sensors. Multifactorial logistic regression analysis was used to find correlation between the amplitudes of sensor responses and the clinical diagnoses of patients.
Results The table represents p values of significant relationship between electronic nose sensors and clinical diagnosis. Some sensors (1, 6, and 13) gave specific responses to particular disease; some other sensors (3, 5, and 7) shared the response with two diseases.
Conclusions An artificial nose is able to discriminate among different lung diseases. Further development of this approach is necessary to create new screening and monitoring methods for different lung diseases.