Low-dose CT measurements of airway dimensions and emphysema associated with airflow limitation in heavy smokers: a cross sectional study

Akkelies E. Dijkstra*, Dirkje S. Postma, Nick ten Hacken, Judith M. Vonk, Matthijs Oudkerk, Peter M. A. van Ooijen, Pieter Zanen, Firdaus A. Mohamed Hoesein, Bram van Ginneken, Michael Schmidt, Harry J. M. Groen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: Increased airway wall thickness (AWT) and parenchymal lung destruction both contribute to airflow limitation. Advances in computed tomography (CT) post-processing imaging allow to quantify these features. The aim of this Dutch population study is to assess the relationships between AWT, lung function, emphysema and respiratory symptoms.

Methods: AWT and emphysema were assessed by low-dose CT in 500 male heavy smokers, randomly selected from a lung cancer screening population. AWT was measured in each lung lobe in cross-sectionally reformatted images with an automated imaging program at locations with an internal diameter of 3.5 mm, and validated in smaller cohorts of patients. The 15th percentile method (Perc15) was used to assess the severity of emphysema. Information about respiratory symptoms and smoking behavior was collected by questionnaires and lung function by spirometry.

Results: Median AWT in airways with an internal diameter of 3.5 mm (AWT(3.5)) was 0.57 (0.44 - 0.74) mm. Median AWT in subjects without symptoms was 0.52 (0.41-0.66) and in those with dyspnea and/or wheezing 0.65 (0.52-0.81) mm (p

Conclusions: Post processing standardization of airway wall measurements provides a reliable and useful method to assess airway wall thickness. Increased airway wall thickness contributes more to airflow limitation than emphysema in a smoking male population even after adjustment for smoking behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
Number of pages9
JournalRespiratory Research
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28-Jan-2013

Keywords

  • Airway dimensions
  • Low-dose CT
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Smoking
  • Airflow limitation
  • Emphysema
  • OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY-DISEASE
  • QUANTITATIVE COMPUTED-TOMOGRAPHY
  • WALL THICKNESS
  • HEALTH-STATUS
  • BODE-INDEX
  • COPD
  • ATTENUATION
  • SMOKING
  • BIOMARKER
  • METRICS

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