Journal Article

Elective haemodialysis increases exhaled isoprene

Philipp Lirk, Florian Bodrogi, Hartmann Raifer, Karin Greiner, Hanno Ulmer and Josef Rieder

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 18, issue 5, pages 937-941
Published in print May 2003 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online May 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI:
Elective haemodialysis increases exhaled isoprene

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Background. Uraemic odour is a characteristic feature of patients with end‐stage renal disease (ESRD). However, few investigations have been carried out into the composition of exhaled air in ESRD patients undergoing haemodialysis (HD). Increases of exhaled isoprene levels by a factor of up to 2.7 following HD have been reported.

Methods. We attempted to confirm these findings in 50 patients undergoing HD using haemophan (n=23) or polysulphone (n=27) dialysis membranes. Parallel evaluation of ambient air, calorie intake, medication and haemodynamic variables was performed. Samples were analysed using proton transfer reaction–mass spectrometry (PTR–MS).

Results. Significant changes in breath isoprene concentration were observed when comparing patients before [39.14±14.96 parts per billion (ppbv)] and after (63.54±27.59 ppbv) dialysis (P<0.001). The quotient of values before and after dialysis was 1.84 (SD 1.41). No significant differences in isoprene kinetics were found between the use of haemophan and polysulphone membranes. No significant correlations were observed between isoprene quotients and variations in blood pressure during HD, calorie intake, ingestion of lipid‐lowering drugs or serum lipid levels.

Conclusions. Isoprene concentration was higher in the exhaled air of patients after HD as compared with values before HD. Large interindividual variability existed in isoprene kinetics. Oxidative stress appears to be an unlikely cause for this rise. An alternative hypothesis is an influence of respiratory variables on isoprene exhalation based upon Henry's law constant. We therefore propose to perform online monitoring of isoprene exhalation by PTR–MS during the HD session to investigate the possible influence of respiratory variables.

Keywords: breath test; haemodialysis; isoprene; proton transfer reaction–mass spectrometry; volatile organic compounds

Journal Article.  3062 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Nephrology

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