An experimental breath test, designed to quickly identify patients suffering from heart failure simply by analyzing the contents of a single exhaled breath, has demonstrated promise in early trials, a team of researchers says.

The investigators stressed that their evaluation is based on a small group of participating patients, and that more extensive research will have to be done to confirm their initial success. But by subjecting a patient's breath to a rigorous but fast analysis of the hundreds of so-called volatile organic compounds contained therein, the study team said it has so far been able to correctly diagnose heart failure among newly hospitalized patients with a 100 percent accuracy.