The ReCIVA® Breath Sampler

Published on: 28 Sep 2023, under Breath Biopsy


reciva blog graphic Breath is a complex medium that contains hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily consisting of volatile metabolites originating from a variety of physiological processes ongoing in the body. The ability to extract valuable information from breath hinges on highly consistent analysis methods supported by standardized collection procedures. This is crucial for maximizing the comparability and reliability of results, a fundamental prerequisite for advancing the field of breath research and achieving widespread clinical implementation.

In collaboration with experts across multiple disciplines in the realm of breath research, the ReCIVA ® Breath Sampler has been meticulously developed as an optimized tool for robust and reliable breath sample collection. Regardless of specific research interests, the ReCIVA has been engineered to be versatile while maintaining the utmost quality in breath sample collection, remaining easy to use in clinical applications whilst prioritizing patient safety and comfort during use.

How does it work?

ReCIVA enables the simultaneous collection of replicate breath samples by directly capturing and pre-concentrating VOC biomarkers from breath onto multiple sorbent tubes. This allows for substantial enrichment of VOCs in breath, even those present in minimal quantities, by increasing the volume of breath collected.

Through the easy-to-use Breath Biopsy Collect software interface, ReCIVA collection settings can be customized based on individual research focuses. This flexibility allows the selective capture of volatile organic compounds from specific fractions of breath, enabling the differentiated analysis of VOCs originating from various breath fractions such as the mouth, upper airways, deep lungs, etc. The built-in pressure sensors in the ReCIVA continuously monitor and adapt to the unique breath patterns of each subject in real time. These sensors activate the pumps responsible for drawing air into the sorbent tubes precisely at the appropriate moments, ensuring the collection of a defined breath fraction, such as end-tidal or bronchial airways.

The Breath Biopsy Collection Station provides the tools needed to collect high-quality breath samples. The Station includes the ReCIVA device for sample collection, CASPER Portable Air Supply which enhances VOC detection by minimizing background signals, and Breath Biopsy Collect software which operates the ReCIVA and provides visual feedback on the sampling process. Our Breath Biopsy consumables will be needed to enable sample collection with the ReCIVA and can be purchased to suit the size and requirements of your study.

reciva blog how it works graphic
Figure 1. A schematic highlighting the general principle of how the ReCIVA breath sampler device works.
See the ReCIVA in action.

  • Exhaled volatile biomarkers for differentiating noisy breathing infants: a pilot study (1).
  • Breath Biopsy to identify exhaled volatile organic compounds as biomarkers for liver cirrhosis detection (2).
  • VOCs from Exhaled Breath for the Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (3).


 Our ReCIVA device has also been independently tested:

  • A systematic review of research examining exhaled VOC biomarkers for adult asthma discussed our ReCIVA device, stating that ‘The optimal solution needs to balance practicality and precision, so as not to negate the clinical utility of breath sampling. The breath sampler developed by a broad consortium of breath researchers and engineers, represents one such solution’ (4).
  • A recent paper published in the Journal of Breath Research examined the capabilities of our ReCIVA device and said ‘The results illustrate the utility of the ReCIVA Breath Collector for providing consistent exhaled breath onto adsorbent media, eliminating the pitfalls associated with collecting breath in bags, while gaining comparable results to samples collected by standard breath bags. Also, the results provide evidence that the ReCIVA sampler may be used among multiple sampling sites for exhaled breath collection’ (5).
Here are some common questions about the ReCIVA device that we asked the experts:
  • What are the benefits of using ReCIVA over other breath collection techniques?
    ‘One benefit of using ReCIVA is that you can control the volume of breath you collect and therefore make it consistent between samples – this is a common issue of other breath collection methods. Alongside our CASPER Portable Air Supply, you can remove contaminants from background air which therefore removes the risk of false discovery of on-breath VOCs. Another common breath collection method is the use of Tedlar bags which have the issue of humid breath causing condensation, meaning that VOCs may be present in droplets, and the sample doesn’t accurately reflect the VOCs in the exhaled breath. This is not an issue with the ReCIVA device as hydrophobic sorbent materials can be used in the sorbent tubes to limit water collection on the sample. The water content of a sample can be further reduced by dry purging of the tubes after sample collection.’ 
  • How do I conduct the breath collection? 

Please see the linked video that demonstrates the correct sample collection using the ReCIVA device.

  • Can other sorbent tubes be used in the ReCIVA device?
    ‘The ReCIVA Breath Sampler is calibrated for the flow possible through Breath Biopsy Cartridges. The pressure drop through different sorbent tubes may be higher/lower, and this will affect the accuracy of breath collection volumes set in the BSC software. For example, a target flow of 200mL/min with tubes with high flow resistance might only collect at 160mL/min (20% lower total breath volume). Please contact us if you want to use a different type of collection tube. It is also important to note that using different sorbents will also affect the range of VOCs sampled, and potentially change the amount of water captured during collection.’
  • How large of a breath sample is collected?
    ‘Typically, 1.25L of breath is collected onto each tube – this makes a total of 5L collected.’
  • How long does it take to get a complete breath sample?
    ‘It takes around 12-15 minutes to collect a full breath sample.’


  1. Slingers G, Jacobs G, Spruyt M, Goelen E, Stans J, Koppen G, et al. Exhaled volatile biomarkers for differentiating noisy breathing infants: a pilot study [Internet]. Preprints; 2023 Aug [cited 2023 Sep 25]. Available from:
  2. Ferrandino G, De Palo G, Murgia A, Birch O, Tawfike A, Smith R, et al. Breath Biopsy ® to Identify Exhaled Volatile Organic Compounds Biomarkers for Liver Cirrhosis Detection. J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2023 Feb 2;000(000):000–000.
  3. Sukaram T, Apiparakoon T, Tiyarattanachai T, Ariyaskul D, Kulkraisri K, Marukatat S, et al. VOCs from Exhaled Breath for the Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Diagnostics. 2023 Jan 10;13(2):257.
  4. Azim A, Barber C, Dennison P, Riley J, Howarth P. Exhaled volatile organic compounds in adult asthma: a systematic review. Eur Respir J [Internet]. 2019 Sep 1 [cited 2023 Sep 25];54(3). Available from:
  5. Harshman SW, Pitsch RL, Davidson CN, Scott AM, Hill EM, Smith ZK, et al. Characterization of standardized breath sampling for off-line field use. J Breath Res. 2020 Jan 1;14(1):016009.
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