Purpose: Airway dimensions measured from CT are increasingly being used to investigate diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this study, we investigate the effect of differences in inspiration level on such measurements in voluntary inspiration breathhold scans. Methods and Materials: We selected from the Danish Lung Cancer Screening Trial 978 subjects without COPD who were scanned annually for 5 years with low-dose multi-slice CT. Using in-house developed software, the lungs and airways were automatically segmented and corresponding airway branches were found in all scans of the same subject using image registration. Mixed effect models were used to predict the relative change in lumen diameter (LD) and wall thickness (WT) in airways of generation 0 (trachea) to 6 based on relative changes in the segmented total lung volume (TLV). Results: On average, 1.0, 2.0, 3.9, 7.6, 15.0, 25.0 and 27.3 airways per subject were included from generations 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, respectively. Relative changes in LD were positively related to changes in TLV and coefficients increased with generation: 0.20 (+-0.02), 0.19 (+-0.02), 0.21 (+-0.01), 0.25 (+-0.01), 0.29 (+-0.01), 0.34 (+-0.01), 0.37 (+-0.01). Relative changes in WT were inversely related to changes in TLV and generation: -0.01 (+-0.02), 0.01 (+-0.01), -0.02 (+-0.01), -0.03 (+- 0.01), -0.05 (+-0.01), -0.09 (+- 0.00), -0.08 (+-0.00). Conclusion: Subjects who inspire deeper prior to scanning tend to have larger LD and smaller WT. This effect is more pronounced in higher generation airways. Thus, adjustment for inspiration level is needed to accurately assess airway dimensions.
Insights Into Imaging, 2013, Vol 4, Issue Supplement 1