Molecular profiling of exhaled breath by electronic nose (eNose) might be suitable as a noninvasive tool that can help in monitoring of clinically unstable COPD patients. However, supporting data are still lacking. Therefore, as a first step, this study aimed to determine the accuracy of exhaled breath analysis by eNose to identify COPD patients who recently exacerbated, defined as an exacerbation in the previous 3 months.
Data for this exploratory, cross-sectional study were extracted from the multicentre BreathCloud cohort. Patients with a physician-reported diagnosis of COPD (n=364) on maintenance treatment were included in the analysis. Exacerbations were defined as a worsening of respiratory symptoms requiring treatment with oral corticosteroids, antibiotics or both. Data analysis involved eNose signal processing, ambient air correction and statistics based on principal component (PC) analysis followed by linear discriminant analysis (LDA).