To investigate the low-attenuation areas of the lungs (LAA) in asthma, we compared the mean lung density (MLD) and the LAA in 22 asthmatics (12 ex-smokers and 10 nonsmokers) and 13 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by high-resolution computed tomography. The MLD and the relative area of the lung with attenuation values lower than -950 Hounsfield Units at full inspiration (inspiratory RA950) were significantly different in nonsmoking asthmatics compared to patients with COPD and asthmatics with a smoking history. The MLD and the RA950 correlated significantly with the FEV1 in all groups and with the DLco in patients with COPD and asthmatics with a smoking history but not in nonsmoking asthmatics. We concluded that the LAA in asthmatics with a smoking history indicates the presence of emphysema, but in nonsmoking asthmatics it reflects hyperinflation and nonemphysematous expiratory airflow limitation rather than emphysematous lesions.
- High-resolution computed tomography
- Low-attenuation area
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine