Exhaled biomarker pattern is altered in children with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Aug;77(8):1244-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2013.04.025. Epub 2013 Jun 6.


Objectives: Obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) is a common disorder in children, which is associated with enhanced inflammatory status. Inflammation-associated changes could be monitored by the assessment of exhaled biomarker profile. This study aimed to compare the exhaled biomarker profile in children with OSAS and habitual snorers.

Methods: Eighteen children with OSAS (8 ± 2 years, mean ± SD) and ten non-OSAS subjects with habitual snoring (9 ± 2 years) were recruited. Exhaled breath was collected from the lower airways, processed using an electronic nose (E-nose) and analyzed off-line using principal component analysis, followed by discrimination analysis and logistic regression to build a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve.

Results: Exhaled biomarker pattern of OSAS patients was discriminated from that of control subjects (p = 0.03, cross-validation accuracy: 64%), ROC curve analysis (area: 0.83) showed 78% sensitivity and 70% specificity.

Conclusions: The altered exhaled biomarker pattern in OSAS might reflect accelerated airway and/or systemic inflammation in diseased state. Breath pattern analysis by an E-nose can serve as a new tool to monitor inflammation in children with OSAS.

Keywords: Breath analysis; Electronic nose; Exhaled volatile; Inflammation; Polysomnography; Sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Breath Tests
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exhalation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • ROC Curve
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / metabolism*
  • Snoring / metabolism
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Volatile Organic Compounds