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Morphological changes in small pulmonary vessels are associated with severe acute exacerbation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Authors Yoshimura K, Suzuki Y, Uto T, Sato J, Imokawa S, Suda T

Received 29 February 2016

Accepted for publication 16 April 2016

Published 28 June 2016 Volume 2016:11(1) Pages 1435—1445


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Katsuhiro Yoshimura,1,2 Yuzo Suzuki,1,2 Tomohiro Uto,2 Jun Sato,2 Shiro Imokawa,2 Takafumi Suda1

1Second Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, Japan; 2Department of Respiratory Medicine, Iwata City Hospital, Iwata, Japan

Pulmonary vascular remodeling is essential for understanding the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The total cross-sectional area (CSA) of small pulmonary vessels has been reported to correlate with the pulmonary artery pressure, and this technique has enabled the assessment of pulmonary vascular involvements. We investigated the contribution of morphological alterations in the pulmonary vessels to severe acute exacerbation of COPD (AE-COPD).
Methods: This study enrolled 81 patients with COPD and 28 non-COPD subjects as control and assessed the percentage of CSA (%CSA) less than 5 mm2 (%CSA<5) and %CSA in the range of 5–10 mm2 (%CSA5–10) on high-resolution computed tomography images.
Results: Compared with the non-COPD subjects, the COPD patients had lower %CSA<5. %CSA<5 was positively correlated with airflow limitation and negatively correlated with the extent of emphysema. COPD patients with lower %CSA<5 showed significantly increased incidences of severe AE-COPD (Gray’s test; P=0.011). Furthermore, lower %CSA<5 was significantly associated with severe AE-COPD (hazard ratio, 2.668; 95% confidence interval, 1.225–5.636; P=0.010).
Conclusion: %CSA<5 was associated with an increased risk of severe AE-COPD. The distal pruning of the small pulmonary vessels is a part of the risk associated with AE-COPD, and %CSA<5 might be a surrogate marker for predicting AE-COPD.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute exacerbation, pulmonary vessels, cross-sectional area (CSA), computed tomography

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