Several specific high-resolution computed tomography patterns correlate with survival in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

J Thorac Dis. 2021 Apr;13(4):2319-2330. doi: 10.21037/jtd-20-1957.


Background: Evidence of honeycombing in high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is a recognized risk factor for shortened survival in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), but few studies have evaluated the feasibility of exploiting other specific patterns for predicting survival. The aim of this study was to examine the extent of specific HRCT patterns in IPF and determine whether they correlate with clinical features, pulmonary function tests (PFT), and survival.

Methods: Both the presence and extent of specific HRCT patterns, such as traction bronchiectasis, honeycombing, architectural distortion, reticulation, emphysema, and ground glass opacity, in 129 HRCT examinations were scored semi-quantitatively in three zones of each lung. HRCT examinations were also re-classified according to the 2011 and 2018 international statements. Correlations were calculated between the scores of specific HRCT patterns, clinical features, PFT, and patient survival.

Results: The extent of traction bronchiectasis was found to be an independent risk factor of shortened survival (HR 1.227, P=0.001). Patients with a possible usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) pattern had a better median survival than the patients with a definite UIP pattern (61 vs. 37 months, P=0.026). The extents of traction bronchiectasis, honeycombing, and architectural distortion displayed an inverse correlation with all PFT values at the time of diagnosis. There were few differences between the radiological classifications of the 2011 and 2018 international statements.

Conclusions: We conclude that several specific HRCT patterns displayed a correlation with shortened survival in IPF; these may help in evaluating the risk of death in IPF patients.

Keywords: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF); radiology; survival.