The CT quantification of both the extent and severity of emphysema was undertaken in 30 subjects. The CT scans at five preselected anatomic levels were analyzed using two methods. Correlation of the results of the CT methods were with pulmonary function results of airway obstruction and alveolar diffusion for carbon monoxide. Analysis by direct observation of the CT scans gave insignificantly different results for a complex grid method of analysis. The emphysema score with the observational method had a positive correlation with airflow obstruction (r = -0.817) as did the score with the grid method (r = -0.873). The diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide also correlated with both emphysema scores. The CT methods for quantifying emphysema correlate closely with functional abnormalities. As previously demonstrated with pathological assessment of lung slices for emphysema, direct observation of CT scans is as precise as a more complex grid method.