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Laryngoscope. 2004 Oct;114(10):1701-5.

Diagnosis of pneumonia with an electronic nose: correlation of vapor signature with chest computed tomography scan findings.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



The electronic nose is a sensor of volatile molecules that is useful in the analysis of expired gases. The device is well suited to testing the breath of patients receiving mechanical ventilation and is a potential diagnostic adjunct that can aid in the detection of patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia.


A prospective study.


We performed a prospective study of patients receiving mechanical ventilation in a surgical intensive care unit who underwent chest computed tomography (CT) scanning. A single attending radiologist reviewed the chest CT scans, and imaging features were recorded on a standardized form. Within 48 hours of chest CT scan, five sets of exhaled gas were sampled from the expiratory limb of the ventilator circuit. The gases were assayed with a commercially available electronic nose. Both linear and nonlinear analyses were performed to identify correlations between imaging features and the assayed gas signatures.


Twenty-five patients were identified, 13 of whom were diagnosed with pneumonia by CT scan. Support vector machine analysis was performed in two separate analyses. In the first analysis, in which a training set was identical to a prediction set, the accuracy of prediction results was greater than 91.6%. In the second analysis, in which the training set and the prediction set were different, the accuracy of prediction results was at least 80%, with higher accuracy depending on the specific parameters and models being used.


The electronic nose is a new technology that continues to show promise as a potential diagnostic adjunct in the diagnosis of pneumonia and other infectious diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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