[Beauchamp2011] "Inhaled today, not gone tomorrow: pharmacokinetics and environmental exposure of volatiles in exhaled breath",
Journal of Breath Research
, vol. 5, no. 3: IOP Publishing, pp. 037103, 2011.
The chemical analysis of exhaled breath gas to assess state of health or identify disease biomarkers has gained growing interest in recent years, with advances in new technologies providing scientists and physicians with a powerful analytical arsenal with which to tackle pertinent issues. The application of these methods for pharmacokinetic studies, however, has received less attention despite its enormous potential in this field. For instance, breath gas analysis may be employed to characterize uptake and distribution within the body of exogenous volatile compounds, either from a pharmaceutical point of view, or in relation to environmental inhalation exposure. Both of these topics can benefit greatly from utilizing breath gas complementarily or as a surrogate to blood as an analytical medium, since breath sampling is non-invasive, inexhaustible, and is achievable with a frequency far exceeding that which is feasible for blood. However, because of the efficiency with which certain exogenous compounds are reflected in breath, this can also often be a significant source of confounding variables that require consideration in routine breath gas analyses. This paper provides an overview of the possibilities of breath gas analysis for pharmacokinetics and environmental exposure investigations and discusses the presence of exogenous compounds in standard breath analyses and their repercussions in terms of erroneous data interpretation.