Health Beat

Health Beat: Breath test for kidney failure

ORLANDO, Fla. - Doctors can test your blood and urine for diseases, but now a new device is allowing them to test your breath.

"If you can do it at the side of the road, you can do it anywhere," said Dr. Raed Dweik, the director of the pulmonary vascular program at Cleveland Clinic.

He believes that you can see the health of a patient through his or her breathprint.

"Anything that is potentially volatile in our blood comes up in the lung and can be measured in exhaled breath," Dweik continued.

Such as kidney failure. A healthy kidney gets rid of wastes and toxins in a person's blood. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, they can cause kidney stones and possibly death.

Dweik and his team are trying to prevent this, by testing for kidney failure using a breathalyzer. In a study of patients with kidney failure and healthy volunteers, he was able to identify five volatile organic compounds in the breath of patients with kidney failure. The device is still being analyzed before it goes to clinical trials.

Researchers also plan to study the effects of dialysis on kidney failure patients' breathprint. Dweik has worked on other breath test studies as well, developing breath tests for asthma, heart failure, liver disease, and obesity.

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