Breath analysis via mass spectrometry

Exhaled air contains thousands of volatile components, usually in minute concentrations. These substances can be measured using specifically adapted mass spectrometry devices. This research is being conducted in collaboration with ETH Zurich and University Basel.

We are creating a database with respiratory profiles of healthy subjects and patients with various, mainly pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnea. The objective is to compare the respiratory profiles and determine if diseases can be diagnosed via exhaled air. Futhermore, we investigate if various medication can be measured via exhaled breath. This is especially significant for the development of new diagnostic tests.
Breath analysis is safe and non-invasive, making it a highly attractive clinical test.

Breath analysis in patients

We currently perform breath gas analyzes on patients with COPD, lung cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, pneumonia, and on patients taking specific medication.

If you are interested in participating in a research project on breath analysis, we would be pleased to send you more detailed information. Please feel free to contact us at any time via the address provided.

Current projects

TitleEthical approval numberClinical trial Registration
Breath analysis in lung cancer
​Breath analysis in obstructive sleep apnoea
​Breath analysis in exacerbated COPD
​Breath analysis in specific medication
​Breath analysis in healthy controls
​Breath analysis in COPD patients under triple inhalation therapy


Tel +41 44 255 37 46
Fax +41 44 255 44 51

Team USZ

Professor Malcolm Kohler, MD, Director of Department
Martin Osswald, Doctoral student
Felix Schmidt, Doctoral student
Sarah Basler, Doctoral student
Goran Krummenacher, Study Nurse
Selvete Bajrami, Study Nurse

Collaboration partners

ETH Zurich: Professor Renato Zenobi, ETH Professor of Analytic Chemistry
University Basel: Professor Pablo Sinues, Translational Medicine Breath Research

Contact address

Department of Pulmonology
Professor Malcolm Kohler, MD
University Hospital Zurich
Rämistrasse 100
8091 Zurich

Last update: 30.11.2020 | Person responsible:
Professor Malcolm Kohler, MD

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