Patients with respiratory tract infections form a large part of general practitioners’ caseloads. In the absence of quick, convenient, accurate, and acceptable ways of identifying the agents causing these infections, GPs often find themselves at the centre of competing patient expectations, antimicrobial stewardship requirements and economic imperatives when prescribing interventions for these infections. This is where rapid diagnostics would come into their own.
Breath analysis is one such rapid diagnostic alternative. With a wealth of information about health and illness contained in a single breath, analysis of breath-based volatile organic compounds (VOCs) holds as yet untapped potential to be used at point-of-care to support GPs’ treatment decisions.
Respiratory tract infections could feasibly be a test case for using VOC analysis in point-of-care settings to support treatment decisions.
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