Penn researchers show effectiveness of device in analyzing gases exhaled from the nose to determine presence of common bacterial infections
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have recently completed three studies – the most comprehensive and largest to date – that demonstrate the effectiveness of an electronic nose device for diagnosing common respiratory infections, specifically pneumonia and sinusitis. Doctors hope that the device – called the Cyranose 320, or e-nose – will provide a faster, more cost-effective and easier-to-use method for accurately diagnosing pneumonia and, as a result, help reduce over-prescription of antibiotics. Their initial findings will be presented at the combined annual meetings of otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) experts – the Triologic Society and the American Broncho-Esophagological Association – on April 30th, 2004, in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Pneumonia is a serious bacterial infection that can cause serious injury or even death; indeed, it remains a leading cause of death in intensive care units (ICUs)," said lead author of the first study, C. William Hanson III, MD, Professor of Anesthesia and board-certified expert in critical care medicine. "Treating this illness is complicated because there are many kinds of pneumonia, and it can be commonly misdiagnosed in the ICU and confused with other diseases which cannot be treated using antibiotics. This is a leading cause of the overuse – through over-prescription – of antibiotics for false cases of pneumonia."
The first two studies looked at pneumonia cases among patients who are on ventilators in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU). Here, diagnosis is made difficult by the patients limited ability to move, and they are vulnerable to infections from other compounding injuries. In the first study, researchers found that the e-nose effectively diagnosed 92 percent of pneumonia cases among 25 patients, as confirmed by computed tomography (CT) scans of the lungs. It successfully distinguished 13 positive cases from 12 other patients who did not have pneumonia. Similarly, in the second study, researchers found the e-nose effective in providing accurate diagnoses of pneumonia in 31 of 44 SICU patients (70 percent).
David March | EurekAlert!
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