Electronic nose could detect heart failure
5 September 2011
A team at University Hospital Jena in Germany is developing a
non-invasive method using gas sensors to detect volatile compounds given
off by people suffering from heart failure. The project was presented
at the ESC Congress 2011 last week.
The 'electronic nose' system consists of an array of three thick-film
metal-oxide-based gas sensors with heater elements. Each of the
sensors has a slightly different sensitivity to various odorant
Interactions between molecules and the sensor are caused by
reactions with oxygen on the heated sensor surface leading to a
change of the free charge carrier concentrations and thus to a
change in conductivity in the metal oxide layer. The odour
components are divided by a statistical analysis into two principal
Further work is in progress to identify the responsible components.
How the electronic nose works
Two groups were formed with CHF patients: one with decompensated
heart failure and one with compensated heart failure. The
patients with decompensated heart failure could be divided from
compensated heart failure with 89% sensitivity and 88% specificity.
Cardiovascular drug use was not different in these groups. On the
other hand, patients without heart failure (control group) were
different from the patients with heart failure in the
principal-component analysis (89% sensitivity and 84% specificity).
“The early detection of chronic heart failure (CHF) through
periodic screening facilitates early treatment application” said
investigator Vasileios Kechagias from the University Hospital Jena.
Heart failure is a common, costly, disabling and potentially deadly
condition. In developed countries, around 2% of adults suffer from
heart failure, but in those over the age of 65, this increases to
6–10%. Mostly due to costs of hospitalisation, it is associated with
high health expenditure. Heart failure is associated with
significantly reduced physical and mental health, resulting in a
markedly decreased quality of life. Although some people survive
many years, progressive disease is associated with an overall
increased mortality and morbidity. The aim of the project is to
create and establish a minimal invasive method, which will help to
rapidly screen, diagnose, group and monitor the CHF.