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Association of incidental emphysema with annual lung function decline and future development of airflow limitation

Authors Koo H, Jin KN, Kim DK, Chung HS, Lee C

Received 21 September 2015

Accepted for publication 19 November 2015

Published 29 January 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 161—166


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Hyeon-Kyoung Koo,1 Kwang Nam Jin,2 Deog Kyeom Kim,3 Hee Soon Chung,3 Chang-Hoon Lee3,4

1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, College of Medicine, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje University, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-Do, 2Department of Radiology, Seoul Metropolitan Government – Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, 3Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, 4Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Objectives: Emphysema is one of the prognostic factors for rapid lung function decline in patients with COPD, but the impact of incidentally detected emphysema on population without spirometric abnormalities has not been evaluated. This study aimed to determine whether emphysema detected upon computed tomography (CT) screening would accelerate the rate of lung function decline and influence the possibility of future development of airflow limitation in a population without spirometric abnormalities.
Materials and methods: Subjects who participated in a routine screening for health checkup and follow-up pulmonary function tests for at least 3 years between 2004 and 2010 were retrospectively enrolled. The percentage of low-attenuation area below −950 Hounsfield units (%LAA−950) was calculated automatically. A calculated value of %LAA−950 that exceeded 10% was defined as emphysema. Adjusted annual lung function decline was analyzed using random-slope, random-intercept mixed linear regression models.
Results: A total of 628 healthy subjects within the normal range of spriometric values were included. Multivariable analysis showed that the emphysema group exhibited a faster decline in forced vital capacity (−33.9 versus −18.8 mL/year; P=0.02). Emphysema was not associated with the development of airflow limitation during follow-up.
Conclusion: Incidental emphysema quantified using CT scan was significantly associated with a more rapid decline in forced vital capacity in the population with normative spirometric values. However, an association between emphysema and future development of airflow limitation was not observed.

Keywords: annual decline rate, respiratory function tests, pulmonary emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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