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Hyperinflated lungs compress the heart during expiration in COPD patients: a new finding on dynamic-ventilation computed tomography

Authors Xu Y, Yamashiro T, Moriya H, Tsubakimoto M, Tsuchiya N, Nagatani Y, Matsuoka S, Murayama S

Received 5 July 2017

Accepted for publication 27 September 2017

Published 26 October 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3123—3131

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S145599

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Supplementary video 1 for a 39-year-old male current smoker without airflow limitation underwent dynamic-ventilation CT for preoperative analysis of parietal pleural adhesions caused by a benign rib tumor.

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Yanyan Xu,1,2 Tsuneo Yamashiro,1 Hiroshi Moriya,3 Maho Tsubakimoto,1 Nanae Tsuchiya,1 Yukihiro Nagatani,4 Shin Matsuoka,5 Sadayuki Murayama1

On behalf of the ACTIve Study Group

1Department of Radiology, Graduate School of Medical Science, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Japan; 2Department of Radiology, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Radiology, Ohara General Hospital, Fukushima, Japan; 4Department of Radiology, Shiga University of Medical Science, Otsu, Japan; 5Department of Radiology, St Marianna University School of Medicine, Kawasaki, Japan

Purpose: The aims of this study were to evaluate dynamic changes in heart size during the respiratory cycle using four-dimensional computed tomography (CT) and to understand the relationship of these changes to airflow limitation in smokers.
Materials and methods: A total of 31 smokers, including 13 with COPD, underwent four-dimensional dynamic-ventilation CT during regular breathing. CT data were continuously reconstructed every 0.5 s, including maximum cross-sectional area (CSA) of the heart and mean lung density (MLD). Concordance between the cardiac CSA and MLD time curves was expressed by cross-correlation coefficients. The CT-based cardiothoracic ratio at inspiration and expiration was also calculated. Comparisons of the CT indices between COPD patients and non-COPD smokers were made using the Mann–Whitney test. Spearman rank correlation analysis was used to evaluate associations between CT indices and the forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1.0) relative to the forced vital capacity (FVC).
Results: Cardiac CSA at both inspiration and expiration was significantly smaller in COPD patients than in non-COPD smokers (P<0.05). The cross-correlation coefficient between cardiac CSA and MLD during expiration significantly correlated with FEV1.0/FVC (ρ=0.63, P<0.001), suggesting that heart size decreases during expiration in COPD patients. The change in the cardiothoracic ratio between inspiration and expiration frames was significantly smaller in COPD patients than in non-COPD smokers (P<0.01).
Conclusion: Patients with COPD have smaller heart size on dynamic-ventilation CT than non-COPD smokers and have abnormal cardiac compression during expiration.

Keywords: heart, COPD, computed tomography, ventilation, emphysema

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