Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in heart-lung transplant recipients: diagnosis with expiratory CT

Radiology. 2001 Feb;218(2):533-9. doi: 10.1148/radiology.218.2.r01fe09533.


Purpose: To determine the test performance and longitudinal evolution of air trapping for diagnosing bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS).

Materials and methods: Over 7 years, 111 combined inspiratory and expiratory computed tomographic examinations were performed in eight healthy control subjects and 38 heart-lung transplant recipients. Functional impairment was assessed with the BOS classification. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed to determine the optimal threshold of air trapping to distinguish between patients with and those without BOS and to compute sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing BOS.

Results: The extent of air trapping increased with BOS severity (P =.001). A threshold of 32% of air trapping is optimal for distinguishing between patients with and those without BOS and provides a sensitivity of 83%, a specificity of 89%, and an accuracy of 88%. The prevalence of BOS and positive predictive value of air trapping increased with postoperative time, but the negative predictive value of air trapping remained high throughout the study. Patients without BOS who had air trapping exceeding 32% of the parenchyma were at significantly increased risk of developing BOS (P =.004).

Conclusion: At the threshold of 32%, air trapping is sensitive, specific, and accurate for diagnosing BOS. Patients with air trapping below 32% are unlikely to have BOS. Air trapping exceeding 32% may be an early indicator of future BOS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Heart-Lung Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*