New Breath Test Could Diagnose Irritable Bowel Syndrome

MAY 11, 2016
Amy Jacob
Previously associated primarily with assessing blood alcohol level, breath tests can now aid in accurately distinguishing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Researchers have identified a combination of 16 different substances in the breath that can be used to diagnose IBS patients.
Frederik-Jan van Schooten, PhD, Maastricht University, Maastricht, and colleagues conducted a case-control study and used an application of breath analysis to distinguish IBS patients from healthy controls based on the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The investigators assessed breath samples from 170 IBS patients, 153 people in the healthy control group, and 1,307 individuals in the general population.
Results showed that the set of 16 substances accurately predicted 89.4% of the IBS patients and 73.3% of the healthy controls. The study also suggested the breath test seemed the most abnormal at the height of patients’ severe intestinal symptoms.
“Now we know which chemicals in breath have diagnostic information that we can use to develop noninvasive tools to follow the disease and to steer therapeutic interventions. This will definitely make a difference in quality of life for patients suffering from this function gastrointestinal disorder,” the researchers said.

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