Simple Breath Test Might Diagnose Heart Failure

Noninvasive method found accurate in small, early study

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"So a breath test would be most useful in that kind of challenging situation," Fonarow said. "But in an emergency room, while there are challenges as well, bedside blood tests are much more readily drawn and quickly analyzed so you can often get the results in minutes. So there may be potentially less of a role for a breath test in that kind of setting."

Study author Dweik added that the test is "theoretically cheap. But of course we're still early in the process of exploring its potential. This study is really a proof of concept. There is much more work that needs to be done to get it to the point where it would become widely available."

More information

For more on heart failure, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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