Computed tomographic measures of pulmonary vascular morphology in smokers and their clinical implications

COPDGene Investigators, COPDGene Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

RATIONALE: Angiographic investigation suggests that pulmonary vascular remodeling in smokers is characterized by distal pruning of the blood vessels.

OBJECTIVES: Using volumetric computed tomography scans of the chest we sought to quantitatively evaluate this process and assess its clinical associations.

METHODS: Pulmonary vessels were automatically identified, segmented, and measured. Total blood vessel volume (TBV) and the aggregate vessel volume for vessels less than 5 mm(2) (BV5) were calculated for all lobes. The lobe-specific BV5 measures were normalized to the TBV of that lobe and the nonvascular tissue volume (BV5/T(issue)V) to calculate lobe-specific BV5/TBV and BV5/T(issue)V ratios. Densitometric measures of emphysema were obtained using a Hounsfield unit threshold of -950 (%LAA-950). Measures of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease severity included single breath measures of diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide, oxygen saturation, the 6-minute-walk distance, St George's Respiratory Questionnaire total score (SGRQ), and the body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnea, and exercise capacity (BODE) index.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The %LAA-950 was inversely related to all calculated vascular ratios. In multivariate models including age, sex, and %LAA-950, lobe-specific measurements of BV5/TBV were directly related to resting oxygen saturation and inversely associated with both the SGRQ and BODE scores. In similar multivariate adjustment lobe-specific BV5/T(issue)V ratios were inversely related to resting oxygen saturation, diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide, 6-minute-walk distance, and directly related to the SGRQ and BODE.

CONCLUSIONS: Smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is characterized by distal pruning of the small blood vessels (<5 mm(2)) and loss of tissue in excess of the vasculature. The magnitude of these changes predicts the clinical severity of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-9
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Volume188
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2013

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Angiography
  • Blood Vessels
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

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