Objective: The purpose of the present study is to prospectively compare the capability of dynamic oxygen-enhanced MRI and quantitative CT for pulmonary functional loss assessment and clinical stage classification of smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Subjects and methods: Ten nonsmoking and 61 consecutive smoking-related COPD subjects underwent dynamic oxygen-enhanced MRI, CT, and pulmonary function tests. COPD subjects were classified into four clinical stages on the basis of the ATS-ERS guidelines. Wash-in time and relative enhancement ratio maps were generated by pixel-by-pixel analyses. Mean wash-in time and relative enhancement ratio were determined as averages of region of interest (ROI) measurements. CT-based functional lung volumes were measured on quantitative CT using the density-masked CT technique. For comparison of assessment capability for smoking-related functional loss, the three parameters were correlated with the percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (%FEV1) and the percentage predicted diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide corrected for alveolar volume (%DL(CO)/VA). To determine the clinical stage classification capability, these parameters were statistically compared for nonsmoking subjects and all clinical stages of smoking-related COPD subjects.
Results: Correlation between mean wash-in time and %FEV1 (r = -0.74, p < 0.0001) and between mean relative enhancement ratio and %DL(CO)/VA (r = 0.66, p < 0.0001) was better than that between CT-based functional lung volume and either %FEV1 (r = 0.61, p < 0.0001) or %DL(CO)/VA (r = 0.56, p < 0.0001). Mean wash-in time showed a significant difference between nonsmoking and smoking-related COPD subjects at all clinical stages (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Dynamic oxygen-enhanced MRI has potential for pulmonary functional loss assessment and clinical stage classification of smoking-related COPD as does quantitative CT.