A portable ‘electronic nose’ can accurately pick Barrett’s oesophagus (BO), reports a proof-of-principle study published online in the journal Gut.
In the study, a team of researchers from The Netherlands developed and cross-validated a BO prediction model using volatile organic compounds (VOCs) analysis.
A total of 402 adult patients undergoing a clinically-indicated upper endoscopy were invited to provide a five-minute breath sample using an electronic nose immediately before a scheduled endoscopy. Of the 402 participants, 129 had BO, 141 had GORD (50 with reflux oesophagitis), and 132 patients were assigned to the control group.
The study found the device could detect BO with 91 per cent sensitivity, 74 per cent specificity, and area under the curve (AUC) of 0.91.
Sensitivity analyses found that the accuracy for discriminating BO from GORD patients and controls remained fair to good in patients receiving proton pump inhibitors and in patients with hiatal hernia.
The researchers say the electronic nose could provide an efficient, well-tolerated, sensitive and specific screening method to select high-risk individuals for upper endoscopy.