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Breath analysis (hemato-oncological disease)

A clinical pilot study of exhaled breath as an approach in the diagnostic work-up for an invasive fungal infection in the lungs of children with an impaired immune system.
Who can enter
  • Children and adolescents with hemato-oncological disease with the clinical suspicion of an invasive fungal infection in their lungs.
  • Children and adolescents with an indication for an allogeneic hematopoetic stem-cell transplantation without clinical suspicion of an invasive fungal infection.
  • Age: 1-18 years old.


The goal of this study is to examine whether it is possible to diagnose a fungal infection in the lungs by the analysis of exhaled breath. We will do so by comparing two groups of children: one group with suspected fungal infection in the lungs and one group without fungal infection.


Children who have reduced immune defenses (i.e., are immunocompromised) due to their illness or treatment have an increased risk of acquiring a fungal infection in their lungs. A few children still die from a serious fungal infection. Timely detection and treatment is therefore important. However, proper treatment first requires determining whether there is indeed a fungal infection.

To make the diagnosis, a lung scan is performed and the airways are examined and flushed (also called bronchoalveolar lavage or BAL) through a video camera in a thin, flexible tube (a scope). Through the scope, fluid is introduced into the lungs and aspirated. The aspirated fluid is examined in the laboratory. For the BAL, children will undergo general anesthesia. But sometimes children are seriously ill, and unable to undergo this invasive diagnostic procedure. In addition, these two tests are not always able to accurately detect a fungal infection even though a fungal infection is present.

Therefore, new, non-invasive methods are needed that can accurately and at an early stage identify a fungal infection in the lungs in immunocompromised children. One possible alternative is a noninvasive breath test, which analyzes exhaled breath.

In order to participate in a study please refer to your/your child’s doctor.

Last reviewed

February 15, 2022