Dynamic lung compliance imaging from 4DCT-derived volume change estimation.

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Physics in medicine and biology


BACKGROUND: Lung compliance is the ability of the lung to expand with changes in pressure and is one of the earliest physiological measurements to be altered in patients with parenchymal lung disease. Therefore, compliance monitoring could potentially identify patients at risk for disease progression. However, in clinical practice, compliance measurements are prohibitively invasive for use as a routine monitoring tool.

PURPOSE: We propose a novel method for computing dynamic lung compliance imaging (LCI) from non-contrast computed tomography (CT) scans. LCI applies image processing methods to free-breathing 4DCT images, acquired under two different continuous positive airway pressures (CPAP) applied using a full-face mask, in order to compute the lung volume change induced by the pressure change. LCI provides a quantitative volumetric map of lung stiffness.

METHODS: We compared mean LCI values computed for 10 patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and 7 non-IPF patients who were screened for lung nodules. 4DCTs were acquired for each patient at 5cm and 10 cm H20 CPAP, as the patients were free breathing at functional residual capacity. LCI was computed from the two 4DCTs. Mean LCI intensities, which represent relative voxel volume change induced by the change in CPAP pressure, were computed.

RESULTS: The mean LCI values for patients with IPF ranged between [0.0309, 0.1165], whereas the values ranged between [0.0704, 0.2185] for the lung nodule cohort. Two-sided Wilcoxon rank sum test indicated that the difference in medians is statistically significant (p value = 0.009) and that LCI -measured compliance is overall lower in the IPF patient cohort.

CONCLUSION: There is considerable difference in lung compliance scores between patients with IPF compared to controls. Future longitudinal studies should look for LC alterations in areas of lung prior to radiographic detection of fibrosis to further characterize LCI's potential utility as an image marker for disease progression.





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