Lung Imaging in COPD Part 1: Clinical Usefulness

Chest. 2023 Jul;164(1):69-84. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2023.03.007. Epub 2023 Mar 11.


COPD is a condition characterized by chronic airflow obstruction resulting from chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. The clinical picture is usually progressive with respiratory symptoms such as exertional dyspnea and chronic cough. For many years, spirometry was used to establish a diagnosis of COPD. Recent advancements in imaging techniques allow quantitative and qualitative analysis of the lung parenchyma as well as related airways and vascular and extrapulmonary manifestations of COPD. These imaging methods may allow prognostication of disease and shed light on the efficacy of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions. This is the first of a two-part series of articles on the usefulness of imaging methods in COPD, and it highlights useful information that clinicians can obtain from these imaging studies to make more accurate diagnosis and therapeutic decisions.

Keywords: COPD; CT scan of chest; chest CT scan; comorbidities associated with COPD; emphysema; extra-pulmonary manifestations of COPD.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bronchitis, Chronic*
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Emphysema* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spirometry
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed