In this study, we used HRCT to assess the extent of early morphological changes in lung parenchyma of smokers and ex-smokers without lung function limitation and respiratory symptoms.
Fifteen smokers (7F; mean±SD age: 54 years ±9; mean±SD cigarette/die:17±3) and 8 ex-smokers (4F, mean±SD age: 51 years ±10) were studied. The HRCT scans of all subjects were independently assessed by two radiologists, in a blind manner and the overall extent of air trapping and emphysema was scored at predetermined levels by using a visual score.
In smokers and ex-smokers, mean±SD of FEV1 (% pred), FEV1/VC (%), and FEF25–75 (% pred) were 100%±22 vs 98%±12, 77%±11 vs 78%±8, and 82%±32 vs 81%±23, respectively. Air trapping and emphysematous changes were present in 27% and 33% HRCT scans of smokers and in 25% and 25% HRCT scans of ex-smokers, respectively.CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Our study showed that a third of asymptomatic smokers and a quarter of ex-smokers without lung function limitation had morphological changes of lung parenchyma, assessed by means of HRCT. Our data suggest that HRCT is a useful tool in early detection of smoking related lung diseases and can be used to implement preventive measures.
A. Chetta, None.