Functional respiratory imaging (FRI) for optimizing therapy development and patient care

Expert Rev Respir Med. 2016 Feb;10(2):193-206. doi: 10.1586/17476348.2016.1136216.


Functional imaging techniques offer the possibility of improved visualization of anatomical structures such as; airways, lobe volumes and blood vessels. Computer-based flow simulations with a three-dimensional element add functionality to the images. By providing valuable detailed information about airway geometry, internal airflow distribution and inhalation profile, functional respiratory imaging can be of use routinely in the clinic. Three dimensional visualization allows for highly detailed follow-up in terms of disease progression or in assessing effects of interventions. Here, we explore the usefulness of functional respiratory imaging in different respiratory diseases. In patients with asthma and COPD, functional respiratory imaging has been used for phenotyping these patients, to predict the responder and non-responder phenotype and to evaluate different innovative therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: COPD FRI; personalized treatment; phenotype.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance
  • Asthma / diagnostic imaging
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Computer Simulation
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Postoperative Care
  • Precision Medicine
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Respiration*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Phosphodiesterase 4 Inhibitors