BACKGROUND: Tracheal aspirate is the conventional method to measure biomarkers of inflammation and oxidation from premature infants on mechanical ventilation at risk for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), but this method is invasive. Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) is a novel, non-invasive method that has been used in older populations. Nitrite, a stable metabolite of nitric oxide (NO), is elevated in inflammatory conditions. We aim to investigate the feasibility of EBC nitrite collection from ventilated premature infants and to quantify EBC nitrite in infants with and without BPD. We hypothesize that EBC nitrite correlates with TA nitrite, and that EBC nitrite in the first week of life is higher in infants who will develop BPD than those without BPD.
METHODS: In a pilot prospective cohort study, TA and EBC were collected in the first week of life from mechanically ventilated premature infants. Nitrite levels were measured using chemiluminescence.
RESULTS: EBC nitrite significantly correlated with TA nitrite (r = 0.45, p = 0.025). Of 40 infants, 33 (82.5%) developed BPD. EBC and TA nitrite levels collected in the first week of life had a higher trend in infants with BPD than those without BPD (p = 0.23 and 0.38 respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Higher trend of EBC nitrite in the first week of life was associated with the development of BPD. Correlation of nitrite level in EBC with that in TA (conventional method) highlights the utility of EBC as an alternative, non-invasive method to measure inflammation. Further refinement of conditions and timing may optimize the predictive value of EBC nitrite.
Exhaled breath condensate nitrite in premature infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia