The relationship between small pulmonary vascular alteration and aortic atherosclerosis in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Quantitative CT analysis

Academic Article


  • Rationale and Objectives: The relationship between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and atherosclerosis has been suggested; this association may relate to systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, which can lead to alteration of small pulmonary vessels. The relationship between atherosclerosis and small pulmonary vessel alteration, however, has not been assessed in COPD patients. We tested the hypothesis that the severity of thoracic aortic calcification measured by computed tomography (CT) would be associated with the total cross-sectional area of small pulmonary vessels (CSA) on CT images. Materials and Methods: The study was approved by the institutional review board and was Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant. Informed consent was waived. For 51 COPD patients enrolled in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Lung Tissue Research Consortium, we calculated the percentage of total CSAs of less than 5 mm2 for the total lung area (%CSA<5). Thoracic aortic calcification, quantified by modified Agatston score, was measured. The correlations between thoracic aortic calcification score and %CSA<5, pulmonary function, and extent of emphysema were evaluated. Multiple linear regression analysis using aortic calcification score as the dependent outcome was also performed. Results: The %CSA<5 had a significant negative correlation with the thoracic aortic calcification score (r = -0.566, P < .0001). Multiple linear regression analysis showed significant correlation between the aortic calcification score and %CSA<5 (P < .0001) independent of age, pack-years, extent of emphysema, and FEV1%. Conclusions: Atherosclerosis, assessed by aortic calcification, is associated with the small pulmonary vascular alteration in COPD. Systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction may cause the close relationship between atherosclerosis and small pulmonary vessel alteration. © 2011 AUR.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Academic Radiology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Matsuoka S; Yamashiro T; Diaz A; San José Estépar R; Ross JC; Silverman EK; Kobayashi Y; Dransfield MT; Bartholmai BJ; Hatabu H
  • Start Page

  • 40
  • End Page

  • 46
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 1