With each breath that we exhale, thousands of molecules are expelled in our breath, giving individuals a "breath-print" that can tell a lot about them and their state of health. Breath analysis is rapidly evolving as the new frontier in medical testing. The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century have arguably witnessed a revolution in our understanding of the constituents of exhaled breath and the development of the field of breath analysis and testing. Thanks to major breakthroughs in new technologies (infrared, electrochemical, chemiluminescence, and others) and the availability of mass spectrometers, the field of breath analysis has made considerable advances in the 21st century. Several methods are now in clinical use or nearly ready to enter that arena. Breath analysis has the potential to offer relatively inexpensive, rapid, noninvasive methods for detecting and/or monitoring a variety of diseases. Breath analysis also has applications in fields beyond medicine, including environmental monitoring, security, and others. This review will focus on exhaled breath as a potential source of biomarkers for medical applications with specific attention to applications (and potential applications) in cardiovascular disease.
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