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Quantitative Assessment of Airway Remodeling Using High-Resolution CT*

Yasutaka Nakano, MD, PhD; Nestor L. Müller, MD PhD; Gregory G. King, MD, PhD; Akio Niimi, MD, PhD; Steven E. Kalloger, BSc; Michiaki Mishima, MD, PhD; Peter D. Paré, MD
Author and Funding Information

*From the University of British Columbia, McDonald Research Laboratories/iCAPTURE Center (Drs. Nakano, Mr. Kalloger, and Paré), St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Department of Radiology, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Center (Dr. Müller), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Institute of Respiratory Medicine (Dr. King), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Department of Respiratory Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine (Drs. Mishima and Niimi), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.

Correspondence to: Peter D. Paré, MD, The University of British Columbia, McDonald Research Laboratories/iCAPTURE Center, St. Paul’s Hospital, Room 292, 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1Y6 Canada; e-mail: ppare@mrl. ubc.ca



Chest. 2002;122(6_suppl):271S-275S. doi:10.1378/chest.122.6_suppl.271S
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Asthma and COPD are the most prevalent of lung diseases and contribute an enormous burden of morbidity in North America and globally. In both conditions, inflammation leads to airway remodeling, which contributes to airway narrowing. To date, airway remodeling has only been assessed using histological examination of airways. However, it may now be possible to assess and quantify the extent of airway remodeling in vivo using high-resolution CT (HRCT). The aim of this article is to review the use of HRCT in the investigation of airway remodeling. A number of investigators have reported techniques to make measurements of airway dimensions using CT and an increasing number of quantitative methods are being developed. Using these techniques, airway dimensions have been examined in patients with asthma and COPD. In patients with asthma, the airway wall area was increased without a decrease in luminal area, whereas in patients with COPD, the airway luminal area was decreased and airway wall area was increased. The different pattern of remodeling may reflect fundamental differences in the inflammatory processes in asthma and COPD and could influence the reversibility of the narrowing. It has also been shown that, by quantifying both the extent of emphysema and of airway remodeling, CT is useful in differentiating COPD patients who have primarily parenchymal disease from those who have primarily airway pathology. With additional advances in technology, it is likely that quantitative assessment of airway wall dimensions will ultimately provide a valuable tool for the study of airway disease.

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