Recent progress in the design and clinical development of electronic-nose technologies
Electronic-nose (e-nose) devices are instruments designed to detect and discriminate between precise complex gaseous mixtures of volatile organic compounds derived from specific organic sources, such as clinical test samples from patients, based on electronic aroma signature patterns (distinct digital sensor responses) resulting from the combined outputs of a multisensor array. E-nose tools allow the identification of complex gaseous samples at relatively low costs, making them useful in a diverse range of clinical situations, particularly for assessments of a patients’ metabolic (physiological) health and for diagnostic applications. The acquisition and analysis of e-nose clinical “breathprints” or “smellprints”, taken from patients’ exhaled air, allow for the potential detection of a wide range of human ailments due to abnormal metabolic activities, disorders, and diseases that may be present in the lungs, other organs, and various compartments of the human body. E-nose instruments have shown strong capabilities for detecting inflammatory lung diseases, various types of cancers, patients’ exposure to toxins and harmful drugs, organ failures, and many other abnormal human conditions. The increasing trend of medical procedures to move toward the use of noninvasive diagnostic methods, such as breath analysis of complex gases and metabolic biomarkers using e-nose devices, is likely to continue because these methods are quicker, more efficient, and cause less stress, anxiety, and pain to patients. The need for standardization of e-nose analysis methods for use in clinical applications will be resolved with new research, eventually allowing the use of portable e-nose devices in clinical practice to become routine and accepted as the preferred tools of choice by physicians for many clinical tasks. This review provides a brief summary of recent progress in the development of e-nose applications for clinical examinations, general medical practice, and for other branches of medical science and research.
Keywords: breath analysis, electronic aroma detection,