April 22, 2021

Metabolic analysis detects life-threatening, undiagnosed lung condition.

The PNOĒ breath analysis test was able to identify a case of Pulmonary Embolism (PE), a life-threatening lung disease, helping the patient get professional help and treatment.

An undiagnosed lung condition isn’t something that healthy, non-smokers or gym-goers are immune from. Chronic conditions affecting your respiratory system are one of the most undiagnosed categories of chronic disease with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) being undiagnosed at about 90% of cases [1]. Beyond COPD however, several other cases of pulmonary disorder can fly under the radar and pose a significant health risk when they appear while having already progressed at an advanced stage. This is a result of seemingly healthy individuals not receiving regular checkups that include pulmonary health assessments as well as and the fact that several pulmonary disease cases going undetected by popular tests like spirometry.  

In this blog post, we discuss the case of an individual who was able to uncover a life-threatening lung disease through the PNOĒ breath analysis test. Primary care doctors initially thought that his inability to work out was due to iron deficiency. Because symptoms were exacerbating and iron supplements weren’t working he decided to take the PNOĒ test at a local facility. Thanks to the PNOĒ test he was able to early identify a life-threatening case of pulmonary embolism. Here’s how his case evolved. 

The Chronicle

The individual was tested using the PNOĒ breath analysis test by Occupational Therapist and Exercise Physiologist Jason Lomond. Jason has been one of the first people in Atlantic Canada to use the PNOĒ breath analysis device to get clinically accurate measurements of his clients’ metabolic, heart, lung, and cellular fitness. 

Jason had had decades of experience working with chronically ill individuals but had dig deeper to find out what was wrong with his 66-year-old patient who was seemingly healthy, was regularly resistance training but was always getting tired much faster than what would be considered normal.

Due to constant and mounting feelings of fatigue, the individual consulted a primary care doctor who attributed his exercise intolerance to iron deficiency. Since however, this wasn’t the real root cause, symptoms continued to exacerbated and prompted the individual to seek help elsewhere. As a member of Jason’s facility, we had the opportunity to receive a breath analysis test which revealed a much deeper problem. 

The PNOĒ breath analysis test analyzed the individual’s heart, lung, bloodstream, and cellular function by scanning how effectively oxygen was being transported from one system to the next. 

What the data showed

The data revealed normal heart function, normal uptake of oxygen by the cells but impaired lung function. The disability wasn’t however attributed to the lungs’ mechanical operation (i.e. ability to expand and contract) but rather their ability to deliver oxygen into the bloodstream. 

The above insights were derived from the following: 1. Normal heart function

This graph shows a normal increase of oxygen uptake per heart (O2 pulse, yellow line) and a normal increase in heart rate (green line) indicating normal heart function. 

2. Normal oxygen uptake by the cells

This graph shows that the switch from predominantly burning fats (green line) to predominantly burning carbs (turquoise line) occurring at a normal exercise intensity indicating normal cellular function

3. Normal mechanical operation of the lungs

This graph shows a normal increase in tidal volume (green line) and breathing frequency (purple line) trending in normal values indicating normal mechanical operation of the lungs

4. Impaired oxygen delivery from the lungs to the bloodstream

This graph shows low VO2peak (blue line) indicating low oxygen consumption by the body. Also, the green line shows low oxygen saturation in the blood indicating that oxygen uptake was low because it never actually got absorbed by the blood. Consequently, the analysis identifies the problem in oxygen transfer between lungs and bloodstream. 


Thanks to these insights, the individual was referred to tertiary care to scrutinize his lung function. The medical examination immediately revealed the presence of bilateral pulmonary embolism a condition that would certainly explain his lungs’ inability to transfer oxygen into the circulatory system. Specifically, pulmonary embolism is caused when a substance blocks one of the lung arteries preventing blood from circulating freely within them. After the identification of the problem the individual was immediately directed for surgery and has currently fully recovered.

To watch how Jason worked this out, watch his full interview here: 



  1. Predicting risk of undiagnosed COPD: development and validation of the TargetCOPD score., Haroon S, Adab P, Riley RD, et al. Predicting risk of undiagnosed COPD: development and validation of the TargetCOPD score. Eur Respir J 2017; 49: 1602191 [https://doi.org/10.1183/ 13993003.02191-2016].

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