CHICAGO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- A small, portable breath monitor, a gas chromatography system, developed at the University of Michigan (UM) can quickly and accurately detect acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), an often deadly disease that causes fluid to leak into the lungs and demands early diagnosis.
Forty-eight patient volunteers at the UM hospital, 21 with ARDS, participated in testing the device.
The device samples a patient's breath through tubing connected to the exhalation port of a mechanical ventilator, and analyzes nearly 100 volatile organic compounds, biomarkers that can not only detect ARDS, but also determine how far along the disease is. As treatment begins, the device can monitor its effectiveness.
The results showed that the device can diagnose ARDS with nearly 90 percent accuracy in as little as 30 minutes. Moreover, the speed and cost-effectiveness allow it to essentially serve as a real-time monitor for patients, helping to focus and adjust treatments in progress.
"We are able to detect the onset and improvement of the condition before traditional changes in X-rays and blood testing would occur," said Xudong Fan, UM professor of biomedical engineering.
"The most commonly used ARDS prediction tools are only correct about 18 percent of the time," Fan added.
ARDS is a severe state of lung inflammation that can be caused by pneumonia, sepsis, trauma, aspiration or a combination of these. It carries a high mortality rate. In the United States, 200,000 cases are diagnosed each year, resulting in 74,000 deaths.
Many that survive are left with poor lung function and have great difficulty returning to routine daily activities.
The research, posted on UM's website on Thursday, has been published in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.