Researchers from University of Iowa just published an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describing the use of multidetector row CT (MDCT) perfusion imaging to assess blood flow within lungs as an indicator of which smokers have the greatest chance of developing emphysema.
From the article abstract:
Dynamic ECG-gated MDCT perfusion scans with a central bolus injection of contrast were acquired in 17 NS [non-smokers], 12 smokers with normal CT imaging studies (SNI), and 12 smokers with subtle CT findings of centrilobular emphysema (SCE). All subjects had normal spirometry. Quantitative image analysis determined regional perfusion parameters, pulmonary blood flow (PBF), and mean transit time (MTT). Mean and coefficient of variation were calculated, and statistical differences were assessed with one-way ANOVA. MDCT-based MTT and PBF measurements demonstrate globally increased heterogeneity in SCE subjects compared with NS and SNI subjects but demonstrate similarity between NS and SNI subjects. These findings demonstrate a functional lung-imaging measure that provides a more mechanistically oriented phenotype that differentiates smokers with and without evidence of emphysema susceptibility.
Image: CT scan of a smoker with early signs of emphysema.
Full story: New test could identify smokers at risk of emphysema…
Abstract in PNAS: Heterogeneity of pulmonary perfusion as a mechanistic image-based phenotype in emphysema susceptible smokers