Feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of an electronic nose in children with asthma and cystic fibrosis

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The measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath is a promising tool for diagnosing and monitoring various lung diseases in children. Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis is a frequently used standard technique for VOCs analysis. However, as GC-MS is an expensive and time-consuming technique, hand-held devices or electronic noses have been developed. Recently, the Aeonose was introduced as an easy-to-use hand-held eNose capable of pointof-care testing. Although first results using this eNose in adults are promising, studies in children are lacking. We therefore performed a cross-sectional study in 55 children and adolescents >= 6 years of age (20 children with moderate to severe asthma, 13 children with CF, and 22 healthy controls). The feasibility of the Aeonose was high (>98% successful measurements). The diagnostic accuracy was high for discriminating asthma from CF (Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve [AUC] 0.90 [95% Confidence Interval 0.78-1.00] sensitivity 89% [65%-98%], specificity 77% [46%94%]), and for the distinction between CF and healthy controls (AUC 0.87 [0.74-1.00], sensitivity 85% [54%-97%], specificity 77% [54%-91%]). However, the diagnostic accuracy for the discrimination between asthma and healthy controls was modest (AUC 0.79 [0.63-0.94], sensitivity 74% [49%90%], specificity 91% [69%-98%]). This is the first study to report test results of the Aeonose in children and adolescents 6 years. This eNose showed a high feasibility with modest to good diagnostic accuracies in asthma and CF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number036009
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Breath Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • asthma
  • cystic fibrosis
  • electronic nose
  • exhaled breath
  • volatile organic compounds
  • children


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