Background: The 2011 idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) guidelines are based on the diagnosis of IPF using only high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT). However, few studies have thus far reviewed the usefulness of the HRCT scoring system based on the grading scale provided in the guidelines. We retrospectively studied 98 patients with respect to assess the prognostic value of changes in HRCT findings using a new HRCT scoring system based on the grading scale published in the guidelines.
Methods: Consecutive patients with IPF who were diagnosed using HRCT alone between January 2008 and January 2012 were evaluated. HRCT examinations and pulmonary function tests were performed at six-month intervals for the first year after diagnosis. The HRCT findings were evaluated using the new HRCT scoring system (HRCT fibrosis score) over time. The findings and survival rates were analyzed using a Kaplan-Meier analysis.
Results: The HRCT fibrosis scores at six and 12 months after diagnosis were significantly increased compared to those observed at the initial diagnosis (p < 0.001). The patients with an elevated HRCT fibrosis score at six months based on a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves analysis had a poor prognosis (log-rank, hazard ratio [HR] 2.435, 95% CI 1.196-4.962; p = 0.0142). Furthermore, among the patients without marked changes in %FVC, those with an elevated score above the cut-off value had a poor prognosis (HR 2.192, 95% CI 1.003-4.791; p = 0.0491).
Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that the HRCT scoring system based on the grading scale is useful for predicting the clinical outcomes of IPF and identifying patients with an adverse prognosis when used in combination with spirometry.