New test may help doctors spot diseases

With more disease, an early diagnosis means a better prognosis. However, sometimes it is difficult, painful, and expensive to test for illnesses.

Now, there is a new way to spot a variety of conditions.

All it takes is a simple breath.
Every minute, the average person takes about 15 breaths. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic say they can reveal a lot about your health.

Doctor Raed Dweik, Director of the Pulmonary Vascular Program at the Cleveland Clinic, says, “Anything in your blood that is potentially volatile will end up showing up in your breath."

Researchers have been studying whether a simple breath test could detect conditions like liver, kidney and heart disease. In a recent pilot study, they were able to show the test was 100-percent accurate at identifying patients with heart failure.

Dr. Dweik says,"We were so surprised by it that we actually did it twice!"

They duplicated the results in the second trial. The test has also been able to detect patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis, a condition that has no diagnostic test.

Dr. Dweik explains, "We could, with more than 90-percent accuracy, pick these patients every time we tested them."

Lung cancer is another disease picked up by the breath test. Previous studies have shown about 80-percent accuracy, but at the 2013 chest conference, Doctor Peter Mazzone reported on an advanced version of the sensor.

Dr. Mazzone, Director of the Respiratory Institute Lung Cancer Program at the Cleveland Clinic, says, "The early results suggest that we've been able to improve our accuracy."

This test offers patients a simple, pain-free glimpse into their health.
Doctors hope the test will be able to find other cancers in the future.

A study testing the breath test on kidney disease patients is just wrapping up, and doctors say the results will be published soon.


TOPIC: Breath test spots disease
REPORT: #3804

BREATH TESTING: By simply testing one's breath, a multitude of health problems can be diagnosed. For centuries, doctors have noticed that disorders with the kidneys and liver have added a unique smell to the breath. Today, these tests are being expanded upon to help find asthma, diabetes and tuberculosis. Breath tests are also easier to administer than other tests. Compared to blood tests, a breath test is less expensive, yields results in a mere fraction of the time and can be repeated as much as necessary. Much like a finger print, each individual carries with them their own unique breath signature. When the breath is exhaled, tiny droplets of proteins, antibodies and DNA are sent out that contain an array of health information. (Source: Melinda Beck,
* Hydrogen Breath Test - This test is mainly used to detect lactose intolerance and bacterial overgrowth. It's performed in the doctor's office where the patient is asked to ingest milk, soda, or sugar water. When the patient exhales into the Breathalyzer, the doctor's will analyze how much hydrogen is carried in the breath.
* Urea Breath Test - This test is simpler to perform compared to the hydrogen breath test. This test detects Helicobacter Pylori, which is a bacteria found in the stomach, which can lead to the development of ulcers. The test around 30 minutes to complete and typically yields results in about two to three days. (Source:

NEW FINDING: Over the past few years, there's been an increased use of breath tests to detect different liver and kidney disorders, stomach problems and various other health issues. But now a new type of breath test is being tested that's not only able to detect diseases with the kidney and liver, but heart disease and lung cancer as well. This new test works by using a sensor that will change color based on which chemicals are being exhaled from the breath. Testing has shown that people suffering with heart disease have a distinctive breath pattern from the people who don't. (Source: Peter Mazzone, MD)

Andrea Pacetti
Media Relations Manager
Cleveland Clinic
Phone: (216) 316-3040
Phone: (216) 444-8168

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at
MB #3804
JUL '14

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