RATIONALE: Loss of the peripheral pulmonary vasculature, termed vascular pruning, is associated with disease severity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
OBJECTIVES: To determine if pulmonary vascular pruning is associated with asthma severity and exacerbations.
METHODS: We measured the total pulmonary blood vessel volume (TBV) and the blood vessel volume of vessels less than 5 mm in cross-sectional area (BV5) and of vessels less than 10 mm (BV10) in cross-sectional area on noncontrast computed tomographic scans of participants from the Severe Asthma Research Program. Lower values of the BV5 to TBV ratio (BV5/TBV) and the BV10 to TBV ratio (BV10/TBV) represented vascular pruning (loss of the peripheral pulmonary vasculature).
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Compared with healthy control subjects, patients with severe asthma had more pulmonary vascular pruning. Among those with asthma, those with poor asthma control had more pruning than those with well-controlled disease. Pruning of the pulmonary vasculature was also associated with lower percent predicted FEV and FVC, greater peripheral and sputum eosinophilia, and higher BAL serum amyloid A/lipoxin A ratio but not with low-attenuation area or with sputum neutrophilia. Compared with individuals with less pruning, individuals with the most vascular pruning had 150% greater odds of reporting an asthma exacerbation (odds ratio, 2.50; confidence interval, 1.05-5.98; P = 0.039 for BV10/TBV) and reported 45% more asthma exacerbations during follow-up (incidence rate ratio, 1.45; confidence interval, 1.02-2.06; P = 0.036 for BV10/TBV).
CONCLUSIONS: Pruning of the peripheral pulmonary vasculature is associated with asthma severity, control, and exacerbations, and with lung function and eosinophilia.
Recent studies show that pulmonary vascular diseases may specifically affect arteries or veins through different physiologic mechanisms. To detect changes in the two vascular trees, physicians manually analyze the chest computed tomography (CT) image of the patients in search of abnormalities. This process is time consuming, difficult to standardize, and thus not feasible for large clinical studies or useful in real-world clinical decision making. Therefore, automatic separation of arteries and veins in CT images is becoming of great interest, as it may help physicians to accurately diagnose pathological conditions. In this paper, we present a novel, fully automatic approach to classify vessels from chest CT images into arteries and veins. The algorithm follows three main steps: first, a scale-space particles segmentation to isolate vessels; then a 3-D convolutional neural network (CNN) to obtain a first classification of vessels; finally, graph-cuts' optimization to refine the results. To justify the usage of the proposed CNN architecture, we compared different 2-D and 3-D CNNs that may use local information from bronchus- and vessel-enhanced images provided to the network with different strategies. We also compared the proposed CNN approach with a random forests (RFs) classifier. The methodology was trained and evaluated on the superior and inferior lobes of the right lung of 18 clinical cases with noncontrast chest CT scans, in comparison with manual classification. The proposed algorithm achieves an overall accuracy of 94%, which is higher than the accuracy obtained using other CNN architectures and RF. Our method was also validated with contrast-enhanced CT scans of patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension to demonstrate that our model generalizes well to contrast-enhanced modalities. The proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art methods, paving the way for future use of 3-D CNN for artery/vein classification in CT images.
There are few studies looking at the pulmonary circulation in subjects with bronchiectasis. We aimed to evaluate the intraparenchymal pulmonary vascular structure, using noncontrast chest computed tomography (CT), and its clinical implications in smokers with radiographic bronchiectasis. Visual bronchiectasis scoring and quantitative assessment of the intraparenchymal pulmonary vasculature were performed on CT scans from 486 smokers. Clinical, lung function and 6-min walk test (6MWT) data were also collected. The ratio of blood vessel volume in vessels <5 mm in cross-section (BV5) to total blood vessel volume (TBV) was used as measure of vascular pruning, with lower values indicating more pruning. Whole-lung and lobar BV5/TBV values were determined, and regression analyses were used to assess the differences in BV5/TBV between subjects with and without bronchiectasis. 155 (31.9%) smokers had bronchiectasis, which was, on average, mild in severity. Compared to subjects without bronchiectasis, those with lower-lobe bronchiectasis had greater vascular pruning in adjusted models. Among subjects with bronchiectasis, those with vascular pruning had lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s and 6MWT distance compared to those without vascular pruning. Smokers with mild radiographic bronchiectasis appear to have pruning of the distal pulmonary vasculature and this pruning is associated with measures of disease severity.
RATIONALE: There are limited data on factors in young adulthood that predict future lung disease.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the relationship between respiratory symptoms, loss of lung health, and incident respiratory disease in a population-based study of young adults.
METHODS: We examined prospective data from 2,749 participants in the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study who completed respiratory symptom questionnaires at baseline and 2 years later and repeated spirometry measurements over 30 years.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Cough or phlegm, episodes of bronchitis, wheeze, shortness of breath, and chest illnesses at both baseline and Year 2 were the main predictor variables in models assessing decline in FEV and FVC from Year 5 to Year 30, incident obstructive and restrictive lung physiology, and visual emphysema on thoracic computed tomography scan. After adjustment for covariates, including body mass index, asthma, and smoking, report of any symptom was associated with -2.71 ml/yr excess decline in FEV (P < 0.001) and -2.18 in FVC (P < 0.001) as well as greater odds of incident (prebronchodilator) obstructive (odds ratio [OR], 1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-2.14) and restrictive (OR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.09-1.80) physiology. Cough-related symptoms (OR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.13-2.16) were associated with greater odds of future emphysema.
CONCLUSIONS: Persistent respiratory symptoms in young adults are associated with accelerated decline in lung function, incident obstructive and restrictive physiology, and greater odds of future radiographic emphysema.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is characterized by low serum levels of or dysfunctional alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor. In the lung parenchyma, this results in a loss of protection against the activity of serine proteases, particularly neutrophil elastase. The resultant imbalance in protease and antiprotease activity leads to an increased risk for the development of early-onset emphysema and COPD. As in traditional smoke-related COPD, the assessment of the severity and disease progression of lung disease in AATD is conventionally based on lung function; however, pulmonary function tests are unable to discriminate between emphysema and airways disease, the two hallmark pathologic features of COPD. CT imaging has been used as a tool to further characterize lung structure and evaluate therapeutic interventions in AATD-related COPD. Moreover, recent advances in quantitative CT have significantly improved our assessment of the lung architecture, which has provided investigators and clinicians with a more detailed evaluation of the extent and severity of emphysema and airways disease in AATD. In addition, serial CT imaging measures are becoming increasingly important, as they provide a tool to monitor emphysema progression. This review describes the principles of CT technology and the role of CT imaging in assessing pulmonary disease progression in AATD, including the effect of therapeutic interventions.
BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking is the strongest risk factor for COPD. Smoking burden is frequently measured in pack-years, but the relative contribution of cigarettes smoked per day versus duration towards the development of structural lung disease, airflow obstruction and functional outcomes is not known.
METHODS: We analysed cross-sectional data from a large multicentre cohort (COPDGene) of current and former smokers. Primary outcome was airflow obstruction (FEV/FVC); secondary outcomes included five additional measures of disease: FEV, CT emphysema, CT gas trapping, functional capacity (6 min walk distance, 6MWD) and respiratory morbidity (St George's Respiratory Questionnaire, SGRQ). Generalised linear models were estimated to compare the relative contribution of each smoking variable with the outcomes, after adjustment for age, race, sex, body mass index, CT scanner, centre, age of smoking onset and current smoking status. We also estimated adjusted means of each outcome by categories of pack-years and combined groups of categorised smoking duration and cigarettes/day, and estimated linear trends of adjusted means for each outcome by categorised cigarettes/day, smoking duration and pack-years.
RESULTS: 10 187 subjects were included. For FEV/FVC, standardised beta coefficient for smoking duration was greater than for cigarettes/day and pack-years (P<0.001). After categorisation, there was a linear increase in adjusted means FEV/FVC with increase in pack-years (regression coefficient β=-0.023±SE0.003; P=0.003) and duration over all ranges of smoking cigarettes/day (β=-0.041±0.004; P<0.001) but a relatively flat slope for cigarettes/day across all ranges of smoking duration (β=-0.009±0.0.009; P=0.34). Strength of association of duration was similarly greater than pack-years for emphysema, gas trapping, FEV, 6MWD and SGRQ.
CONCLUSION: Smoking duration alone provides stronger risk estimates of COPD than the composite index of pack-years.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Post-results; NCT00608764.
RATIONALE: Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increase the risk of death and drive healthcare costs, but whether they accelerate loss of lung function remains controversial. Whether exacerbations in subjects with mild COPD or similar acute respiratory events in smokers without airflow obstruction affect lung function decline is unknown.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the association between acute exacerbations of COPD (and acute respiratory events in smokers without COPD) and the change in lung function over 5 years of follow-up.
METHODS: We examined data on the first 2,000 subjects who returned for a second COPDGene visit 5 years after enrollment. Baseline data included demographics, smoking history, and computed tomography emphysema. We defined exacerbations (and acute respiratory events in those without established COPD) as acute respiratory symptoms requiring either antibiotics or systemic steroids, and severe events by the need for hospitalization. Throughout the 5-year follow-up period, we collected self-reported acute respiratory event data at 6-month intervals. We used linear mixed models to fit FEV decline based on reported exacerbations or acute respiratory events.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: In subjects with COPD, exacerbations were associated with excess FEV decline, with the greatest effect in Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage 1, where each exacerbation was associated with an additional 23 ml/yr decline (95% confidence interval, 2-44; P = 0.03), and each severe exacerbation with an additional 87 ml/yr decline (95% confidence interval, 23-151; P = 0.008); statistically significant but smaller effects were observed in Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage 2 and 3 subjects. In subjects without airflow obstruction, acute respiratory events were not associated with additional FEV decline.
CONCLUSIONS: Exacerbations are associated with accelerated lung function loss in subjects with established COPD, particularly those with mild disease. Trials are needed to test existing and novel therapies in subjects with early/mild COPD to potentially reduce the risk of progressing to more advanced lung disease. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00608764).
RATIONALE: Aging is associated with reduced FEV to FVC ratio (FEV/FVC), hyperinflation, and alveolar enlargement, but little is known about how age affects small airways.
OBJECTIVES: To determine if chest computed tomography (CT)-assessed functional small airway would increase with age, even among asymptomatic individuals.
METHODS: We used parametric response mapping analysis of paired inspiratory/expiratory CTs to identify functional small airway abnormality (PRM) and emphysema (PRM) in the SPIROMICS (Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcome Measures in COPD Study) cohort. Using adjusted linear regression models, we analyzed associations between PRM and age in subjects with or without airflow obstruction. We subdivided participants with normal spirometry based on respiratory-related impairment (6-minute-walk distance <350 m, modified Medical Research Council ≥2, chronic bronchitis, St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire >25, respiratory events requiring treatment [antibiotics and/or steroids or hospitalization] in the year before enrollment).
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Among 580 never- and ever-smokers without obstruction or respiratory impairment, PRM increased 2.7% per decade, ranging from 3.6% (ages 40-50 yr) to 12.7% (ages 70-80 yr). PRM increased nonsignificantly (0.1% [ages 40-50 yr] to 0.4% [ages 70-80 yr]; P = 0.34). Associations were similar among nonobstructed individuals with respiratory-related impairment. Increasing PRM in subjects without airflow obstruction was associated with increased FVC (P = 0.004) but unchanged FEV (P = 0.94), yielding lower FEV/FVC ratios (P < 0.001). Although emphysema was also significantly associated with lower FEV/FVC (P = 0.04), its contribution relative to PRM in those without airflow obstruction was limited by its low burden.
CONCLUSIONS: In never- and ever-smokers without airflow obstruction, aging is associated with increased FVC and CT-defined functional small airway abnormality regardless of respiratory symptoms.
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are highly prevalent chronic obstructive lung diseases with an associated high burden of disease. Asthma, which is often allergic in origin, frequently begins in infancy or childhood with variable airflow obstruction and intermittent wheezing, cough, and dyspnea. Patients with COPD, in contrast, are usually current or former smokers who present after the age of 40 years with symptoms (often persistent) including dyspnea and a productive cough. On the basis of age and smoking history, it is often easy to distinguish between asthma and COPD. However, some patients have features compatible with both diseases. Because clinical studies typically exclude these patients, their underlying disease mechanisms and appropriate treatment remain largely uncertain. To explore the status of and opportunities for research in this area, the NHLBI, in partnership with the American Thoracic Society, convened a workshop of investigators in San Francisco, California on May 14, 2016. At the workshop, current understanding of asthma-COPD overlap was discussed among clinicians, pathologists, radiologists, epidemiologists, and investigators with expertise in asthma and COPD. They considered knowledge gaps in our understanding of asthma-COPD overlap and identified strategies and research priorities that will advance its understanding. This report summarizes those discussions.
PURPOSE: Accurate segmentation of lung nodules is crucial in the development of imaging biomarkers for predicting malignancy of the nodules. Manual segmentation is time consuming and affected by inter-observer variability. We evaluated the robustness and accuracy of a publically available semiautomatic segmentation algorithm that is implemented in the 3D Slicer Chest Imaging Platform (CIP) and compared it with the performance of manual segmentation.
METHODS: CT images of 354 manually segmented nodules were downloaded from the LIDC database. Four radiologists performed the manual segmentation and assessed various nodule characteristics. The semiautomatic CIP segmentation was initialized using the centroid of the manual segmentations, thereby generating four contours for each nodule. The robustness of both segmentation methods was assessed using the region of uncertainty (δ) and Dice similarity index (DSI). The robustness of the segmentation methods was compared using the Wilcoxon-signed rank test (pWilcoxon<0.05). The Dice similarity index (DSIAgree) between the manual and CIP segmentations was computed to estimate the accuracy of the semiautomatic contours.
RESULTS: The median computational time of the CIP segmentation was 10 s. The median CIP and manually segmented volumes were 477 ml and 309 ml, respectively. CIP segmentations were significantly more robust than manual segmentations (median δCIP = 14ml, median dsiCIP = 99% vs. median δmanual = 222ml, median dsimanual = 82%) with pWilcoxon~10-16. The agreement between CIP and manual segmentations had a median DSIAgree of 60%. While 13% (47/354) of the nodules did not require any manual adjustment, minor to substantial manual adjustments were needed for 87% (305/354) of the nodules. CIP segmentations were observed to perform poorly (median DSIAgree≈50%) for non-/sub-solid nodules with subtle appearances and poorly defined boundaries.
CONCLUSION: Semi-automatic CIP segmentation can potentially reduce the physician workload for 13% of nodules owing to its computational efficiency and superior stability compared to manual segmentation. Although manual adjustment is needed for many cases, CIP segmentation provides a preliminary contour for physicians as a starting point.
RATIONALE: Beyond the risks of smoking, there are limited data on factors associated with change in lung function over time.
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether cardiorespiratory fitness was longitudinally associated with preservation of lung health.
METHODS: Prospective data were collected from 3,332 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study aged 18-30 in 1985 who underwent treadmill exercise testing at baseline visit, and 2,735 participants with a second treadmill test 20 years later. The association between cardiorespiratory fitness and covariate adjusted decline in lung function was evaluated.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Higher baseline fitness was associated with less decline in lung function. When adjusted for age, height, race-sex group, peak lung function, and years from peak lung function, each additional minute of treadmill duration was associated with 1.00 ml/yr less decline in FEV (P < 0.001) and 1.55 ml/yr less decline in FVC (P < 0.001). Greater decline in fitness was associated with greater annual decline in lung function. Each 1-minute decline in treadmill duration between baseline and Year 20 was associated with 2.54 ml/yr greater decline in FEV (P < 0.001) and 3.27 ml/yr greater decline in FVC (P < 0.001). Both sustaining higher and achieving relatively increased levels of fitness over 20 years were associated with preservation of lung health.
CONCLUSIONS: Greater cardiopulmonary fitness in young adulthood, less decline in fitness from young adulthood to middle age, and achieving increased fitness from young adulthood to middle age are associated with less decline in lung health over time. Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 00005130).
We introduce a novel Bayesian nonparametric model that uses the concept of disease trajectories for disease subtype identification. Although our model is general, we demonstrate that by treating fractions of tissue patterns derived from medical images as compositional data, our model can be applied to study distinct progression trends between population subgroups. Specifically, we apply our algorithm to quantitative emphysema measurements obtained from chest CT scans in the COPDGene Study and show several distinct progression patterns. As emphysema is one of the major components of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the third leading cause of death in the United States , an improved definition of emphysema and COPD subtypes is of great interest. We investigate several models with our algorithm, and show that one with age , pack years (a measure of cigarette exposure), and smoking status as predictors gives the best compromise between estimated predictive performance and model complexity. This model identified nine subtypes which showed significant associations to seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) known to associate with COPD. Additionally, this model gives better predictive accuracy than multiple, multivariate ordinary least squares regression as demonstrated in a five-fold cross validation analysis. We view our subtyping algorithm as a contribution that can be applied to bridge the gap between CT-level assessment of tissue composition to population-level analysis of compositional trends that vary between disease subtypes.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Bronchiectasis manifests as recurrent respiratory infections and reduced lung function. Airway dilation, which is measured as the ratio of the diameters of the bronchial lumen (B) and adjacent pulmonary artery (A), is a defining radiological feature of bronchiectasis. A challenge to equating the bronchoarterial (BA) ratio to disease severity is that the diameters of airway and vessel in health are not established. We sought to explore the variability of BA ratio in never-smokers without pulmonary disease and its associations with lung function.
METHODS: Objective measurements of the BA ratio on volumetric computed tomography (CT) scans and pulmonary function data were collected in 106 never-smokers. The BA ratio was measured in the right upper lobe apical bronchus (RB1) and the right lower lobe basal posterior bronchus. The association between the BA ratio and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV ) was assessed using regression analysis.
RESULTS: The BA ratio was 0.79 ± 0.16 and was smaller in more peripheral RB1 bronchi (P < 0.0001). The BA ratio was >1, a typical threshold for bronchiectasis, in 10 (8.5%) subjects. Subjects with a BA ratio >1 versus ≤1 had smaller artery diameters (P < 0.0001) but not significantly larger bronchial lumens. After adjusting for age, gender, race and height, the BA ratio was directly related to FEV (P = 0.0007).
CONCLUSION: In never-smokers, the BA ratio varies by airway generation and is associated with lung function. A BA ratio >1 is driven by small arteries. Using artery diameter as reference to define bronchial dilation seems inappropriate.
Low fat-free mass index (FFMI) is an independent risk factor for mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) not typically measured during routine care. In the present study, we aimed to derive fat-free mass from the pectoralis muscle area (FFM) and assess whether low FFMI is associated with all-cause mortality in COPD cases. We used data from two independent COPD cohorts, ECLIPSE and COPDGene.Two equal sized groups of COPD cases (n=759) from the ECLIPSE study were used to derive and validate an equation to calculate the FFM measured using bioelectrical impedance from PMA. We then applied the equation in COPD cases (n=3121) from the COPDGene cohort, and assessed survival. Low FFMI was defined, using the Schols classification (FFMI <16 in men, FFMI <15 in women) and the fifth percentile normative values of FFMI from the UK Biobank.The final regression model included PMA, weight, sex and height, and had an adjusted R of 0.92 with fat-free mass (FFM) as the outcome. In the test group, the correlation between FFM and FFM remained high (Pearson correlation=0.97). In COPDGene, COPD cases with a low FFMI had an increased risk of death (HR 1.6, p<0.001).We demonstrated COPD cases with a low FFMI have an increased risk of death.
BACKGROUND: Smoking-related lung injury may manifest on CT scans as both emphysema and interstitial changes. We have developed an automated method to quantify interstitial changes and hypothesized that this measurement would be associated with lung function, quality of life, mortality, and a mucin 5B (MUC5B) polymorphism.
METHODS: Using CT scans from the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD Study, we objectively labeled lung parenchyma as a tissue subtype. We calculated the percentage of the lung occupied by interstitial subtypes.
RESULTS: A total of 8,345 participants had clinical and CT scanning data available. A 5% absolute increase in interstitial changes was associated with an absolute decrease in FVC % predicted of 2.47% (P < .001) and a 1.36-point higher St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire score (P < .001). Among the 6,827 participants with mortality data, a 5% increase in interstitial changes was associated with a 29% increased risk of death (P < .001). These associations were present in a subgroup without visually defined interstitial lung abnormalities, as well as in those with normal spirometric test results, and in those without chronic respiratory symptoms. In non-Hispanic whites, for each copy of the minor allele of the MUC5B promoter polymorphism, there was a 0.64% (P < .001) absolute increase in the percentage of lung with interstitial changes.
CONCLUSIONS: Objective interstitial changes on CT scans were associated with impaired lung function, worse quality of life, increased mortality, and more copies of a MUC5B promoter polymorphism, suggesting that these changes may be a marker of susceptibility to smoking-related lung injury, detectable even in those who are healthy by other measures.