Exhaled breath condensate: methodological recommendations and unresolved questions

I. Horvath*, J. Hunt, P.J. Barnes, K. Alving, A. Antczak, E. Baraldi, G. Becher, W.J. van Beurden, M. Corradi, R. Dekhuijzen, R.A. Dweik, T. Dwyer, R. Effros, S. Erzurum, B. Gaston, C. Gessner, A. Greening, L.P. Ho, J. Hohlfeld, Q. JöbsisD. Laskowski, S. Loukides, D. Marlin, P. Montuschi, A.C. Olin, A.E. Redington, P. Reinhold, E.L. van Rensen, I. Rubinstein, P. Silkoff, K. Toren, G. Vass, C. Vogelberg, H. Wirtz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Collection of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) is a noninvasive method for obtaining samples from the lungs. EBC contains large number of mediators including adenosine, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, isoprostanes, leukotrienes, nitrogen oxides, peptides and cytokines. Concentrations of these mediators are influenced by lung diseases and modulated by therapeutic interventions. Similarly EBC pH also changes in respiratory diseases. The aim of the American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society Task Force on EBC was to identify the important methodological issues surrounding EBC collection and assay, to provide recommendations for the measurements and to highlight areas where further research is required. Based on the currently available evidence and the consensus of the expert panel for EBC collection, the following general recommendations were put together for oral sample collection: collect during tidal breathing using a noseclip and a saliva trap; define cooling temperature and collection time (10 min is generally sufficient to obtain 1-2 mL of sample and well tolerated by patients); use inert material for condenser; do not use resistor and do not use filter between the subject and the condenser. These are only general recommendations and certain circumstances may dictate variation from them. Important areas for future research involve: ascertaining mechanisms and site of exhaled breath condensate particle formation; determination of dilution markers; improving reproducibility; employment of EBC in longitudinal studies; and determining the utility of exhaled breath condensate measures for the management of individual patients. These studies are required before recommending this technique for use in clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-548
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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