Effect of transportation and storage using sorbent tubes of exhaled breath samples on diagnostic accuracy of electronic nose analysis

J Breath Res. 2013 Mar;7(1):016002. doi: 10.1088/1752-7155/7/1/016002. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


Many (multi-centre) breath-analysis studies require transport and storage of samples. We aimed to test the effect of transportation and storage using sorbent tubes of exhaled breath samples for diagnostic accuracy of eNose and GC-MS analysis. As a reference standard for diagnostic accuracy, breath samples of asthmatic patients and healthy controls were analysed by three eNose devices. Samples were analysed by GC-MS and eNose after 1, 7 and 14 days of transportation and storage using sorbent tubes. The diagnostic accuracy for eNose and GC-MS after storage was compared to the reference standard. As a validation, the stability was assessed of 15 compounds known to be related to asthma, abundant in breath or related to sampling and analysis. The reference test discriminated asthma and healthy controls with a median AUC (range) of 0.77 (0.72-0.76). Similar accuracies were achieved at t1 (AUC eNose 0.78; GC-MS 0.84), t7 (AUC eNose 0.76; GC-MS 0.79) and t14 (AUC eNose 0.83; GC-MS 0.84). The GC-MS analysis of compounds showed an adequate stability for all 15 compounds during the 14 day period. Short-term transportation and storage using sorbent tubes of breath samples does not influence the diagnostic accuracy for discrimination between asthma and health by eNose and GC-MS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Breath Tests / instrumentation*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Specimen Handling* / instrumentation
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / metabolism


  • Volatile Organic Compounds