The hypothesis was that prediction of asthma exacerbations in children is possible by profiles of exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a non-invasive measure of airway inflammation.To study: 1) whether VOCs in exhaled breath are able to predict asthma exacerbations, and: 2) the time course and chemical background of the most predictive VOCs.A prospective study was performed in 40 children with asthma during one year. At standard 2-month intervals, FeNO, VOC profiles in exhaled breath samples, lung function and symptoms were determined in a standardised way. VOC profiles were analysed by gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOF-MS).16 out of 40 children experienced an exacerbation. With support vector machine analysis, the most optimal model of baseline measurements versus exacerbation within patients was based on 6 VOCs (correct classification 96%, sensitivity 100%, specificity 93%). The model of baseline values of patients with compared to levels of patients without an exacerbation consisted of 7 VOCs (correct classification 91%, sensitivity 79%, specificity 100%). FeNO and lung function were not predictive for exacerbations.This study indicates that a combination of different exhaled VOCs is able to predict exacerbations of childhood asthma.
Robroeks, C. M., van Berkel, J. J., Jöbsis, Q., van Schooten, F. J., Dallinga, J. W., Wouters, E. F., & Dompeling, E. D. (2013). Exhaled volatile organic compounds predict exacerbations of childhood asthma in a 1-year prospective study. European Respiratory Journal, 42(1), 98-106. https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00010712