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COPD phenotypes on computed tomography and its correlation with selected lung function variables in severe patients

Authors Silva S, Paschoal I, De Capitani E, Moreira M, Palhares L, Pereira M

Received 17 June 2015

Accepted for publication 25 September 2015

Published 16 March 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 503—513


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Silvia Maria Doria da Silva, Ilma Aparecida Paschoal, Eduardo Mello De Capitani, Marcos Mello Moreira, Luciana Campanatti Palhares, Mônica Corso Pereira

Pneumology Service, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil

Background: Computed tomography (CT) phenotypic characterization helps in understanding the clinical diversity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, but its clinical relevance and its relationship with functional features are not clarified. Volumetric capnography (VC) uses the principle of gas washout and analyzes the pattern of CO2 elimination as a function of expired volume. The main variables analyzed were end-tidal concentration of carbon dioxide (ETCO2), Slope of phase 2 (Slp2), and Slope of phase 3 (Slp3) of capnogram, the curve which represents the total amount of CO2 eliminated by the lungs during each breath.
Objective: To investigate, in a group of patients with severe COPD, if the phenotypic analysis by CT could identify different subsets of patients, and if there was an association of CT findings and functional variables.
Subjects and methods: Sixty-five patients with COPD Gold III–IV were admitted for clinical evaluation, high-resolution CT, and functional evaluation (spirometry, 6-minute walk test [6MWT], and VC). The presence and profusion of tomography findings were evaluated, and later, the patients were identified as having emphysema (EMP) or airway disease (AWD) phenotype. EMP and AWD groups were compared; tomography findings scores were evaluated versus spirometric, 6MWT, and VC variables.
Results: Bronchiectasis was found in 33.8% and peribronchial thickening in 69.2% of the 65 patients. Structural findings of airways had no significant correlation with spirometric variables. Air trapping and EMP were strongly correlated with VC variables, but in opposite directions. There was some overlap between the EMP and AWD groups, but EMP patients had signicantly lower body mass index, worse obstruction, and shorter walked distance on 6MWT. Concerning VC, EMP patients had signicantly lower ETCO2, Slp2 and Slp3. Increases in Slp3 characterize heterogeneous involvement of the distal air spaces, as in AWD.
Conclusion: Visual assessment and phenotyping of CT in COPD patients is feasible and may help identify functional and clinically different subsets of patients. VC may provide useful information about the heterogeneous involvement of lung structures in COPD.

Keywords: chronic obstructive lung disease, emphysema, volumetric capnography, bronchiectasis, computed tomography

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