CT measurements of central pulmonary vasculature as predictors of severe exacerbation in COPD

Academic Article


  • To identify a predictive value for the exacerbation status of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) subjects, we evaluated the relationship between pulmonary vascular measurements on chest CT and severe COPD exacerbation.Six hundred three subjects enrolled in the COPDGene population were included and divided into nonexacerbator (n = 313) and severe exacerbator (n = 290) groups, based on whether they had an emergency room visit and/or hospitalization for COPD exacerbation. We measured the diameter of the main pulmonary artery (MPA) and ascending aorta (AA) at 2 different sites of the MPA (the tubular midportion and bifurcation) on both axial images and multiplanar reconstructions. Using multiple logistic regression analyses, we evaluated the relationship between each CT-measured pulmonary vasculature and exacerbation status.Axial and multiplanar MPA to AA diameter ratios (PA:AA ratios) at the tubular midportion and the axial PA:AA ratios at the bifurcation indicated significant association with severe exacerbation. The strongest association was found with the axial PA:mean AA ratio at the bifurcation (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 12.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.35-66.74, P = .003) and the axial PA:major AA ratio at the tubular midportion (adjusted OR = 10.72, 95% CI = 1.99-57.86, P = .006). No differences were observed in the MPA diameter. Receiver operating characteristic analysis of these variables indicates that they may serve as a good predictive value for severe exacerbation (area under the curve, 0.77-0.78). The range of cut-off value for PA:AA ratio was 0.8 to 0.87.CT-measured PA:AA ratios at either the bifurcation or the tubular site, measured either on axial or multiplanar images, are useful for identification of the risk of severe exacerbation, and consequently can be helpful in guiding the management of COPD. Although CT measurement was used at the level of pulmonary bifurcation in previous studies, we suggest that future studies should monitor the tubular site of the MPA for maximum diagnostic value of CT in pulmonary hypertension or severe COPD exacerbation, as the tubular site of the MPA remains relatively constant on CT images.
  • Published In

  • Medicine  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rho JY; Lynch DA; Suh YJ; Nah JW; Zach JA; Schroeder JD; Cox CW; Bowler RP; Fenster BE; Dransfield MT
  • Volume

  • 97
  • Issue

  • 3