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Quantitative CT Phenotypes Linked to COPD Exacerbations

CT-measured bronchial wall thickness, total lung emphysema associated with COPD exacerbations

MONDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Quantitative computed tomographic (CT) phenotypic measures of bronchial wall thickness and total lung emphysema correlate with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation frequency, according to a study published in the October issue of Radiology.

MeiLan K. Han, M.D., from the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined whether COPD exacerbation frequency was related to quantitative CT phenotypic measures of emphysema and airway disease in 1,002 individuals who met the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria for COPD. The total lung emphysema percentage was measured with attenuation mask technology with −950-HU threshold. The mean wall thickness and mean wall area percentage was measured in six segmental bronchi using an automated program. A questionnaire was used to evaluate the frequency of COPD exacerbation in the previous year.

The investigators found that bronchial wall thickness and total lung emphysema percentage correlated with COPD exacerbation frequency in multivariate analysis adjusted for lung function. Every 1-mm increase in bronchial wall thickness, and each 5 percent increase in emphysema for patients with 35 percent or greater total emphysema correlated with a 1.84- and 1.18-fold increase in annual COPD exacerbation rate, respectively.

"These data provide evidence that the quantitative measures of lung structural changes identified with volumetric CT are associated with COPD exacerbation frequency, a clinical outcome of public health importance," the authors write.

Several study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical, medical device, and health care industries.

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