Electronic Nose Technology in Respiratory Diseases

Lung. 2017 Apr;195(2):157-165. doi: 10.1007/s00408-017-9987-3. Epub 2017 Feb 25.


Electronic noses (e-noses) are based on arrays of different sensor types that respond to specific features of an odorant molecule, mostly volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Differently from gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, e-noses can distinguish VOCs spectrum by pattern recognition. E-nose technology has successfully been used in commercial applications, including military, environmental, and food industry. Human-exhaled breath contains a mixture of over 3000 VOCs, which offers the postulate that e-nose technology can have medical applications. Based on the above hypothesis, an increasing number of studies have shown that breath profiling by e-nose could play a role in the diagnosis and/or screening of various respiratory and systemic diseases. The aim of the present study was to review the principal literature on the application of e-nose technology in respiratory diseases.

Keywords: Electronic nose; Exhaled breath; Volatile organic compounds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Breath Tests
  • Electronic Nose*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Mesothelioma / diagnosis
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*


  • Volatile Organic Compounds