Association between lung function and airway wall density

J. Ken Leader, Bin Zheng, Carl R. Fuhrman, John Tedrow, Sang C. Park, Jun Tan, Jiantao Pu, John M. Drescher, David Gur, Frank C. Sciurba

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Computed tomography (CT) examination is often used to quantify the relation between lung function and airway remodeling in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this preliminary study, we examined the association between lung function and airway wall computed attenuation ("density") in 200 COPD screening subjects. Percent predicted FVC (FVC%), percent predicted FEV1 (FEV1%), and the ratio of FEV1 to FVC as a percentage (FEV1/FVC%) were measured post-bronchodilator. The apical bronchus of the right upper lobe was manually selected from CT examinations for evaluation. Total airway area, lumen area, wall area, lumen perimeter and wall area as fraction of the total airway area were computed. Mean HU (meanHU) and maximum HU (maxHU) values were computed across pixels assigned membership in the wall and with a HU value greater than -550. The Pearson correlation coefficients (PCC) between FVC%, FEV1%, and FEV1/FVC% and meanHU were -0.221 (p = 0.002), -0.175 (p = 0.014), and -0.110 (p = 0.123), respectively. The PCCs for maxHU were only significant for FVC%. The correlations between lung function and the airway morphometry parameters were slightly stronger compared to airway wall density. MeanHU was significantly correlated with wall area (PCC = 0.720), airway area (0.498) and wall area percent (0.611). This preliminary work demonstrates that airway wall density is associated with lung function. Although the correlations in our study were weaker than a recent study, airway wall density initially appears to be an important parameter in quantitative CT analysis of COPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2009
Subtitle of host publicationBiomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging
StatePublished - 2009
EventMedical Imaging 2009: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: Feb 8 2009Feb 10 2009

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherMedical Imaging 2009: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


  • Airway
  • Airway morphometry
  • Airway remodeling
  • COPD
  • lung function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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