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Laboratory and Animal Investigations |

Methacholine-Induced Temporal Changes in Airway Geometry and Lung Density by CT*

Israel Amirav, MD; Sandra S. Kramer, MD; Michael M. Grunstein, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: *From the Division of Pulmonary Medicine (Drs. Amirav and Grunstein) and Department of Radiology (Dr. Kramer), The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. ,  Currently at the Division of Pediatrics Pulmonology, Sieff Government Hospital, Safed, Israel.

Correspondence to: Israel Amirav, MD, Hanarkis 41 Rosh Pina, 12000 Israel; e-mail: amirav@012.net.il



Chest. 2001;119(6):1878-1885. doi:10.1378/chest.119.6.1878
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Purpose: Electron-beam CT (EBCT) was utilized to assess the time course of changes in airways cross-sectional area (CSA) and lung density during methacholine-induced bronchoconstriction.

Materials and methods: EBCT scans (200 ms, 3-mm thickness, 2 mm increments) were obtained before (baseline) and 30 s, 2 min, and 4 min after bolus IV injection of methacholine to pigs receiving mechanical ventilation. A total of seven experiments were analyzed using custom-made image analysis software. With each challenge, five different airways and 50 lung regions of interest were studied.

Results: The time course of lung density changes paralleled the time course for CSA changes. The maximal response to methacholine, measured in terms of both CSA and lung density changes, occurred 30 s after injection. Lung density changes were unaffected by reconstruction algorithm, normal (standard) or sharp (high resolution). Overall, there was increased air content in the lung during bronchoconstriction. This effect was significantly greater at the dependent lung regions.

Conclusions: EBCT is an effective tool to assess temporal and regional changes in the lung during bronchoconstriction. Measurements of lung density during bronchoconstriction allow for assessment of peripheral changes that are beyond the CT spatial resolution of airways anatomy.

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