A one-minute breath test can speed up the diagnosis of lung diseases and ensure that patients receive the right treatment.
The handheld device measures levels of hydrogen peroxide in the breath. Hydrogen peroxide is best known as an important bleaching agent in hair coloring agents, but it is also naturally produced by the body, where it is a significant sign of airway inflammation.
Measuring the patient's hydrogen peroxide level could give doctors a quick and easy way to identify lung diseases.
The device is being tested on NHS patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Did you know? A one-minute breath test can speed up the diagnosis of lung diseases and ensure that patients receive the right treatment
Thousands of patients with COPD have incorrectly diagnosed asthma (and received the wrong treatment), as Good Health recently reported – this new, non-invasive test can help to quickly distinguish between the two conditions.
A common feature of COPD and asthma is airway inflammation. Different inflammatory cells are involved in the two conditions, and the inflammation observed in asthma is primarily in the larger airway, while COPD primarily affects the small airway passages and lungs.
The device measures neutrophil inflammation, which is lower in asthma. The most important aid for measuring airway inflammation is fibreoptic bronchoscopy, an invasive procedure where a fine tube with a camera at the end is passed through the throat in the passages of the lungs.
Samples of tissue and fluid can be taken by instruments passed through the tube. Patients may find the procedure uncomfortable despite sedation, and possible complications include bleeding, infections and respiratory irritation. Unlike the new breath test, called Inflammacheck, the patient simply breathes in the battery-powered device for up to one minute or about 20 breaths.
A sensor in the gadget measures hydrogen peroxide in the exhaled air. Hydrogen peroxide is produced as part of the body's immune response.
It sends immune cells called neutrophils to the damaged areas where they then remove damaged tissue and cause inflammation.
The device is being tested on NHS patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis
Although inflammation is part of the healing process, it can also be harmful and in asthma causes the temporary narrowing of the airways that transport oxygen to the lungs.
This leads to coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, a feeling of tightness in the chest and other symptoms. Similar symptoms are seen with COPD, and patients may need to clear the throat the first thing due to excessive mucus in the lungs.
There may also be a chronic cough that can produce mucus that is clear, white, yellow or greenish.
The device is being tested in a 12-month study with 90 volunteers from the NHS Trust at Portsmouth Hospitals – some have asthma or COPD while others are healthy.
It is hoped that this will speed up diagnosis and provide valuable information about how well treatments work.
The researchers said: & # 39; It can give doctors an immediate insight into the inflammatory state of the airways and has the potential to identify specific inflammations that guide treatment decisions. This can help in making earlier diagnoses and personalized management plans, thereby improving patient care. & # 39;
Professor Pallav Shah, a physician advisor at Royal Brompton Hospital in London, said: & # 39; This is a consistent method for measuring neutrophil inflammatory activity.
& # 39; The clinical value has to be proven, but it is a promising research tool. & # 39;
n Cutting soft drinks can reduce the risk of asthma, according to a study published in the journal Nutrients.
Researchers from the University of Qatar analyzed data from nearly 1,000 people. Those who had soft drinks seven times a week were 2.6 times more likely to have asthma compared to non-consumers.
One theory is that compounds in carbonated drinks, possibly preservatives, increase inflammation in the airways.
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