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Quantitative CT analysis in patients with pulmonary emphysema: is lung function influenced by concomitant unspecific pulmonary fibrosis?

Authors Feldhaus FW, Theilig DC, Hubner RH, Kuhnigk JM, Neumann K, Doellinger F

Received 3 February 2019

Accepted for publication 16 May 2019

Published 17 July 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 1583—1593


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Felix W Feldhaus,1 Dorothea Cornelia Theilig,1 Ralf-Harto Hubner,2 Jan-Martin Kuhnigk,3 Konrad Neumann,4 Felix Doellinger1

1Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin Institute of Health, Department of Radiology, Berlin, Germany; 2Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious and Respiratory Disease, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany; 3Institute for Medical Image Computing, Fraunhofer MEVIS, Bremen, Germany; 4Institute of Biometrics and Clinical Epidemiology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Gemany

Purpose: Quantitative analysis of CT scans has proven to be a reproducible technique, which might help to understand the pathophysiology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. The aim of this retrospective study was to find out if the lung function of patients with COPD with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stages III or IV and pulmonary emphysema is measurably influenced by high attenuation areas as a correlate of concomitant unspecific fibrotic changes of lung parenchyma.
Patients and methods: Eighty-eight patients with COPD GOLD stage III or IV underwent CT and pulmonary function tests. Quantitative CT analysis was performed to determine low attenuation volume (LAV) and high attenuation volume (HAV), which are considered to be equivalents of fibrotic (HAV) and emphysematous (LAV) changes of lung parenchyma. Both parameters were determined for the whole lung, as well as peripheral and central lung areas only. Multivariate regression analysis was used to correlate HAV with different parameters of lung function.
Results: Unlike LAV, HAV did not show significant correlation with parameters of lung function. Even in patients with a relatively high HAV of more than 10%, in contrast to HAV (p=0.786) only LAV showed a significantly negative correlation with forced expiratory volume in 1 second (r=−0.309, R2=0.096, p=0.003). A severe decrease of DLCO% was associated with both larger HAV (p=0.045) and larger LAV (p=0.001). Residual volume and FVC were not influenced by LAV or HAV.
Conclusion: In patients with COPD GOLD stage III-IV, emphysematous changes of lung parenchyma seem to have such a strong influence on lung function, which is a possible effect of concomitant unspecific fibrosis is overwhelmed.

Keywords: COPD, quantitative CT, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary emphysema, CPFE

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