Background: The effects of breathing pattern and inspired air conditions on the volume and content of exhaled breath condensate (EBC) were investigated.
Methods: Total exhaled water (TEW), EBC volume, pH, nitrite and protein concentrations were measured in three groups of 10 healthy subjects breathing into a condenser at different target minute ventilations (Vm), tidal volumes (Vt), and inspired air conditions.
Results: The volumes of both TEW and EBC increased significantly with Vm. For Vm 7.5, 15 and 22.5 l/min, mean (SD) EBC was 627 (258) μl, 1019 (313) μl, and 1358 (364) μl, respectively (p<0.001) and TEW was 1879 (378) μl, 2986 (496) μl, and 4679 (700) μl, respectively (p<0.001). TEW was significantly higher than EBC, reflecting a condenser efficiency of 40% at a target Vm of 7.5 l/min which reduced to 29% at Vm 22.5 l/min. Lower Vt gave less TEW than higher Vt (26.6 v 30.7 μl/l, mean difference 4.1 (95% CI 2.6 to 5.6), p<0.001) and a smaller EBC volume (4.3 v 7.6 μl/l, mean difference 3.4 (95% CI 2.3 to 4.5), p<0.001). Cooler and drier inspired air yielded less water vapour and less breath condensate than standard conditions (p<0.05). Changes in the breathing pattern had no effect on EBC protein and nitrite concentrations and pH.
Conclusion: These results show that condensate volume can be increased by using high Vt and increased Vm without compromising the dilution of the sample.
- EBC, exhaled breath condensate
- TEW, total exhaled water
- Vm, minute ventilation
- Vt, tidal volume
- exhaled condensates
- respiratory secretions
- ventilatory pattern
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Funded by Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, UK
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