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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2005 Feb 15;145(2-3):295-300.

Mass spectrometric profile of exhaled breath--field study by PTR-MS.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Leopold Franzens University, Anichstr. 35, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Recently, increased interest has focused on the diagnostic potential of volatile organic compounds (VOC) exhaled in human breath as this substance group has been conjectured in indoor air quality and disease screening. Proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) has been established as a new tool for a rapid determination of exhaled air profile. However, no investigations have been carried out into the profile of exhaled air as determined by PTR-MS. Therefore, it was the aim of the present study to determine the profile of exhaled breath in a field survey enrolling 344 persons. Analysis was performed using PTR-MS. No significant correlations with age, blood pressure, and body mass index could be observed with any molecular mass. The present study delineates possible reference values for PTR-MS investigations into exhaled air profile. In conclusion, the present study was the first to delineate mass spectrometric characteristics of an average patient sample as possible reference values.

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