Author(s): Anderson JC, Lamm WJ, Hlastala MP
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Abstract Exhaled acetone is measured to estimate exposure or monitor diabetes and congestive heart failure. Interpreting this measurement depends critically on where acetone exchanges in the lung. Health professionals assume exhaled acetone originates from alveolar gas exchange, but experimental data and theoretical predictions suggest that acetone comes predominantly from airway gas exchange. We measured endogenous acetone in the exhaled breath to evaluate acetone exchange in the lung. The acetone concentration in the exhalate of healthy human subjects was measured dynamically with a quadrupole mass spectrometer and was plotted against exhaled volume. Each subject performed a series of breathing maneuvers in which the steady exhaled flow rate was the only variable. Acetone phase III had a positive slope (0.054+/-0.016 liter-1) that was statistically independent of flow rate. Exhaled acetone concentration was normalized by acetone concentration in the alveolar air, as estimated by isothermal rebreathing. Acetone concentration in the rebreathed breath ranged from 0.8 to 2.0 parts per million. Normalized end-exhaled acetone concentration was dependent on flow and was 0.79+/-0.04 and 0.85+/-0.04 for the slow and fast exhalation rates, respectively. A mathematical model of airway and alveolar gas exchange was used to evaluate acetone transport in the lung. By doubling the connective tissue (epithelium+mucosal tissue) thickness, this model predicted accurately (R2=0.94+/-0.05) the experimentally measured expirograms and demonstrated that most acetone exchange occurred in the airways of the lung. Therefore, assays using exhaled acetone measurements need to be reevaluated because they may underestimate blood levels.
This article was published in J Appl Physiol (1985)
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques