COPD is diagnosed and evaluated by pulmonary function testing (PFT). Chest computed tomography (CT) primarily serves a descriptive role for diagnosis and severity evaluation. CT densitometry-based emphysema quantification and lobar fissure integrity assessment are most commonly used, mainly for lung volume reduction purposes and scientific efforts.
A shift towards a more quantitative role for CT to assess pulmonary function is a logical next step, since more, currently underutilised, information is present in CT images. For instance, lung volumes such as residual volume and total lung capacity can be extracted from CT; these are strongly correlated to lung volumes measured by PFT.
This review assesses the current evidence for use of quantitative CT as a proxy for PFT in COPD and discusses challenges in the movement towards CT as a more quantitative modality in COPD diagnosis and evaluation. To better understand the relevance of the traditional PFT measurements and the role CT might play in the replacement of these parameters, COPD pathology and traditional PFT measurements are discussed.
- LUNG-VOLUME REDUCTION
- AIRWAY WALL THICKNESS
- TRACHEAL COLLAPSIBILITY