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A size-based emphysema severity index: robust to the breath-hold-level variations and correlated with clinical parameters

Authors Hwang J, Lee M, Lee SM, Oh SY, Oh Y, Kim N, Seo JB

Received 4 April 2016

Accepted for publication 3 June 2016

Published 3 August 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 1835—1841


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Jeongeun Hwang,1 Minho Lee,2 Sang Min Lee,2 Sang Young Oh,2 Yeon-Mok Oh,3,4 Namkug Kim,2,3,* Joon Beom Seo2,*

1Asan Institute for Life Sciences, 2Department of Radiology, 3Department of Convergence Medicine, 4Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Objective: To determine the power-law exponents (D) of emphysema hole-size distributions as a competent emphysema index. Robustness to extreme breath-hold-level variations and correlations with clinical parameters for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were investigated and compared to a conventional emphysema index (EI%).
Patients and methods: A total of 100 patients with COPD (97 males and three females of mean age 67±7.9 years) underwent multidetector row computed tomography scanning at full inspiration and full expiration. The diameters of the emphysematous holes were estimated and quantified with a fully automated algorithm. Power-law exponents (D) of emphysematous hole-size distribution were evaluated.
Results: The diameters followed a power-law distribution in all cases, suggesting the scale-free nature of emphysema. D of inspiratory and expiratory computed tomography of patients showed intraclass correlation coefficients >0.8, indicating statistically absolute agreement of different breath-hold levels. By contrast, the EI% failed to agree. Bland–Altman analysis also revealed the superior robustness of D to EI%. D also significantly correlated with clinical parameters such as airflow limitation, diffusion capacity, exercise capacity, and quality of life.
Conclusion: The D of emphysematous hole-size distribution is robust to breath-hold-level variations and sensitive to the severity of emphysema. This measurement may help rule out the confounding effects of variations in breath-hold levels.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, computed tomography, quantitative imaging, breath-hold, power law

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