Comparison of computed density and macroscopic morphometry in pulmonary emphysema

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1995 Aug;152(2):653-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.152.2.7633722.


High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) scans were obtained at 1 cm intervals in 63 subjects referred for surgical resection of a cancer or for transplantation to find out whether the relative area of lung occupied by attenuation values lower than a threshold would be a measurement of macroscopic emphysema. Using a semiautomatic procedure, the relative areas occupied by attenuation values lower than eight thresholds ranging from -900 to -970 HU were calculated on the set of scans obtained through the lobe or the lung to be resected. The extent of emphysema was quantified by a computer-assisted method on horizontal paper-mounted lung sections obtained every 1 to 2 cm. The only level for which no statistically significant difference was found between the HRCT and the morphometric data was -950 HU. To determine the number of scans sufficient for an accurate quantification, we recalculated the relative area occupied by attenuation values lower than -950 HU on progressively fewer numbers of scans and investigated the departure from the results obtained with 1 cm intervals. Because of wide variations in this departure from patient to patient, a standard cannot be recommended as the optimal distance between scans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pattern Recognition, Automated
  • Pneumonectomy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / pathology*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / surgery
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*