Detection of infectious agents in the airways by ion mobility spectrometry in exhaled breath

Olaf Anhenn, Urte Sommerwerck, Jörg-Ingo Baumbach, Bertram Boedeker, Kaid Darwiche, Lutz Freitag, Helmut Teschler

Author address: 

Department of Pneumology Lung Transplantation, Ruhrlandklinik, West German Lung Centre at the University Clinic Essen University Clinic, Germany 2B&S Analytik GmbH, BioMedizinZentrum Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany 3Department of Interventional Pneum


Introduction Rapid detection of infectious agents in human lungs is often crucial, because the appropriate therapeutic regimen depends on the infecting organisms. Standard methods for detection and identification are either time consuming, of low sensitivity or expensive. Objectives Aim of our study was to evaluate if characterisation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by MCC-IMS in exhaled breath of patients either colonized or infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa), Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (Sm), Aspergillus niger (An) or A. fumigatus (Af) compared to controls is capable to identify those infectious agents. Methods Detection of VOCs in exhaled breath was performed by ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) coupled to a multi-capillary column (MCC) for pre-separation (MCC-IMS, B&S Analytik). COPD patients with apergilloma (n=2) or with colonization by An or Af (n=2) were compared to 9 COPD patients without aspergilloma or A. spp. colonization. 2 patients with acute Pa infection, 4 patients with chronic colonization by Pa and 2 patients with Sm infection were compared to 9 healthy volunteers. Results MCC-IMS revealed 8 distinctive peaks in exhaled breath of patients with aspergilloma or A. spp. colonization, 3 peaks in exhaled breath of patients infected or colonized by Pa and 4 peaks in patients infected by Sm compared to the controls. Conclusions MCC-IMS seems to be a promising method for the non-invasive identification of patients colonized or infected with Pa, Sm or A. spp. However, confirmation of our findings in a larger study population is needed.

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

20th European Respiratory Society conference
    • ERS 20th (2010)