Background: There is considerable heterogeneity among patients with emphysematous chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We hypothesised that in addition to emphysema severity, ventilation distribution in emphysematous regions would be associated with clinical-physiological impairments in these patients. Objective: To evaluate whether the discordance between respiratory volume change distributions (from expiration to inspiration) in emphysematous and non-emphysematous regions affects COPD outcomes using two cohorts. Methods: Emphysema was quantified using a low attenuation volume percentage on inspiratory CT (iLAV%). Local respiratory volume changes were calculated using non-rigidly registered expiratory/inspiratory CT. The Ventilation Discordance Index (VDI) represented the log-Transformed Wasserstein distance quantifying discordance between respiratory volume change distributions in emphysematous and non-emphysematous regions. Results: Patients with COPD in the first cohort (n=221) were classified into minimal emphysema (iLAV% <10%; n=113) and established emphysema with high VDI and low VDI groups (n=46 and 62, respectively). Forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) was lower in the low VDI group than in the other groups, with no difference between the high VDI and minimal emphysema groups. Higher iLAV%, more severe airway disease and hyperventilated emphysematous regions in the upper-middle lobes were independently associated with lower VDI. The second cohort analyses (n=93) confirmed these findings and showed greater annual FEV1 decline and higher mortality in the low VDI group than in the high VDI group independent of iLAV% and airway disease on CT. Conclusion: Lower VDI is associated with severe airflow limitation and higher mortality independent of emphysema severity and airway morphological changes in patients with emphysematous COPD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine