Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are distinct but clinically overlapping airway disorders which often create diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas. Current strategies to discriminate these diseases are limited by insensitivity and poor performance due to biologic variability. We tested the hypothesis that a gas chromatograph/differential mobility spectrometer (GC/DMS) sensor could distinguish between clinically well-defined groups with airway disorders based on the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) obtained from exhaled breath. After comparing VOC profiles obtained from 13 asthma, 5 COPD and 13 healthy control subjects, we found that VOC profiles distinguished asthma from healthy controls and also a subgroup of asthmatics taking the drug omalizumab from healthy controls. The VOC profiles could not distinguish between COPD and any of the other groups. Our results show a potential application of the GC/DMS for non-invasive and bedside diagnostics of asthma and asthma therapy monitoring. Future studies will focus on larger sample sizes and patient cohorts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine