Host and environmental predictors of exhaled breath temperature in the elderly

E. Bijnens, N. Pieters, H. Dewitte, B. Cox, B.G. Janssen, N. Saenen, E. Dons, M.P. Zeegers, L. Panis, T.S. Nawrot

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BACKGROUND: Exhaled breath temperature has been suggested as a new method to detect and monitor pathological processes in the respiratory system. The putative mechanism of this approach is based upon changes in the blood flow. So far potential factors that influence breath temperature have not been studied in the general population. METHODS: The exhaled breath temperature was measured in 151 healthy non-smoking elderly (aged: 60-80 years) at room temperature with the X-halo device with an accuracy of 0.03 degrees C. We related exhaled breath temperature by use of regression models with potential predictors including: host factors (sex, age) and environmental factors (BMI, physical activity, and traffic indicators). RESULTS: Exhaled breath temperature was lower in women than in men and was inversely associated with age, physical activity. BMI and daily average ambient temperature were positively associated with exhaled breath temperature. Independent of the aforementioned covariates, exhaled breath temperature was significantly associated with several traffic indicators. Residential proximity to major road was inversely associated with exhaled breath temperature: doubling the distance to the nearest major intense road was observed a decrease of 0.17 degrees C (95% CI: -0.33 to -0.01; p=0.036). CONCLUSIONS: Exhaled breath temperature has been suggested as a noninvasive method for the evaluation of airway inflammation. We provide evidence that several factors known to be involved in proinflammatory conditions including BMI, physical activity and residential proximity to traffic affect exhaled breath temperature. In addition, we identified potential confounders that should be taken into account in clinical and epidemiological studies on exhaled breath temperature including sex, age, and ambient temperature.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1226
Pages (from-to)1226
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2013



Cite this

Bijnens, E., Pieters, N., Dewitte, H., Cox, B., Janssen, B. G., Saenen, N., Dons, E., Zeegers, M. P., Panis, L., & Nawrot, T. S. (2013). Host and environmental predictors of exhaled breath temperature in the elderly. BMC Public Health, 13, 1226. [1226].