An Electronic Nose Could Sniff Out Heart Failure
01 Sep, 2011 - 09:57am
A study that was recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2011 shows that an “electronic nose” can detect those who have heart failure. The objective of the “electronic nose” was to create a fairly non-invasive way to rapidly screen, diagnose, monitor and group those patients suffering from chronic heart failure, also known through CHF.
Investigator Vasileios Kechagias from the University Hospital Jena stated, “The early detection of chronic heart failure through periodical screening facilitates early treatment application.”
This is particularly important as heart failure is not only fairly common, it is also very costly, disabling, and it can be a deadly condition. It is estimated that close to 2% of adults in developed countries suffer from heart failure, but this number increases to 6-10% for anyone who is over the age of 65.
Heart failure is also associated with causing a significant decrease in one’s quality of life, as it causes a reduction in both mental and physical health. It is often a progressive disease and can shorten the lifespan of those who suffer from it.
A daily screening of patients who were suffering from varying degrees of heart failure was conducted. Those who were eligible were then enrolled, and the data that was collected was anonymous. The study was made possible by a collaboration of efforts from a team at the University of Applied Sciences, Jena. They conducted the recruitment and analysis of all clinical data received.
There are a few relevant laboratory parameters for heart failure that were collected: BNP, creatinine, minerals, blood gas analysis. These were all collected and the clinical assessment of heart failure was then based on the available parameters, such as exercise stress test results, clinical histories, laboratory work and echocardiography. A total of 250 patients were screened for the study, and 126 of them were included in the clinical study. Patients were then divided into different groups: no heart failure, moderate heart failure, and decompensated heart failure. All testing was optimized with a standardized skin preparation.
For the purpose of clinical study, those with decompensated heart failure were evaluated at both the marked limitation of any sort of activity where the patient is comfortable when they are at rest, or at the state where any physical activity will bring about discomfort. A control group of patients who did not have heart failure were then also screened. Measurements were then taken with the “electronic nose” at 10 different cycles, each test lasting 3 minutes in duration.
Those patients who were suffering from decompensated heart failure could be separated from those who had compensated heart failure with 88% specificity and 89% sensitivity. Patients who did not have heart failure were slightly different from those who had heart failure in the principal component analysis with 84% specificity and 89% sensitivity.
The testing still has a long way to go before it can be proven to be a complete success. The odor components that were obtained from the “electronic nose” that are related to various odorant molecular types and allowed the nose to deduce who has heart failure and who does not, will require further progress to identify just what components in the odor were responsible for the results.