The relations between expiratory chest CT using helical CT and pulmonary function tests in emphysema

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Apr;155(4):1290-4. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.155.4.9105069.


Chest computed tomography (CT) and pulmonary function tests are usually used for the evaluation of emphysema. We performed the present study to evaluate more accurately the relationship between the degree of morphological change and the functional abnormality in emphysema. We used a helical CT apparatus to obtain the CT images both at full inspiration and full expiration. We classed the degree of emphysema into 5 grades (0-4) by visual observation on CT image obtained at the two levels, upper and lower fields, on each side. We assigned each of these grades a visual score. We also calculated the average ratio of CT numbers of each of the lung fields at full expiration to that at full inspiration for each level. We designated this the E/I ratio. We then examined the relationship between the findings acquired by each of these two methods and pulmonary function test results. The visual score showed correlations with FEV1(% predicted) (-0.592, p < 0.0001), RV/TLC(%)(0.425, p < 0.025), and DL(CO)/VA(% predicted)(-0.538, p < 0.0001). The E/I ratio showed correlations with FEV1(% predicted) (-0.620, p < 0.0001), RV/TLC(%)(0.661, p < 0.0001), and DL(CO)/VA(% predicted) (-0.299, p < 0.05). Compared with the E/I ratio, the visual score showed much higher correlation with DL(CO)/VA(% predicted), but the E/I ratio showed stronger correlation with RV/TLC(%) than did the visual score. The visual score may reflect the degree of emphysema, whereas the E/I ratio reflects the air trapping. These findings suggest that the helical CT is useful in the evaluation of emphysematous changes and that the E/I ratio reflects the air trapping.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*