Breath test could help doctors diagnose heart failure

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 11 at 6:28 PM

Heart failure means your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support all your other organs. 5.7 million people in the U.S. have it.

Now a simple breath test could make it easier and faster for doctors to diagnose.

Pat Patwardhan's career has taken him all over the world.

"I've been to Paris at least 40 times, but who's counting?" Patwardhan asked.

Even though he still keeps up with the financial world, there are other numbers he watches more closely: his blood pressure and weight. Patwardhan suffers from heart failure.

Early diagnosis can help people live longer, but most are not diagnosed until after a heart attack.

Now doctors at the Cleveland Clinic are working on a simple breath test that could identify heart failure right away.

"Everything that's in our blood is potentially volatile. We'll end up detecting it in the breath," said Raed A. Dweik, M.D. and direction of Cleveland Clinic's Pulmonary Vascular Program.

Patients blow into a breath capture device. Within minutes, the molecules in the breath are analyzed.

"Five of those peaks could 100 percent tell whether a patient has heart failure or not. This is a really big deal," Dr. Dweik said.

Now that he knows what's wrong, Patwardhan is moving forward.

"You like on your adrenaline. You just, you know, you take the next opportunity and you go with it," he said.

A small research study at the Cleveland Clinic found the breath test to be 100 percent accurate, but more research is still needed before the test is available to the public.

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