Breath test to detect heart failure?

A simple puff of air from a patient may be all that is required to detect heart failure, according to a small study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The study involved 61 patients at the Cleveland Clinic. Twenty-five of the patients were hospitalized for heart failure, 36 were hospitalized for other conditions and 16 were completely healthy and served as the ‘control’ group. According to the results, doctors were able to detect the 25 patients with heart disease with 100 percent accuracy using the breath test, which measures levels of acetone and pentane in the exhaled breath.

The breath test was also able to distinguish the patients with heart failure from patients who had other cardiac ailments.

Heart failure is one of the main reasons for people being readmitted to hospitals. It’s also notoriously difficult to diagnose. The new breath test needs more analysis before it is widely used, but could provide doctors a fast and accurate way to detect heart failure before a patient is released.

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