Treatment of patients with COPD often leads to guess work and inappropriate decisions brought on due to a lack of information about the patient’s lung parenchyma and the ongoing functional state of the disease. A new technology, originally developed at the University of Michigan, has now received clearance from the FDA to allow physicians to map out functional information about the lung’s performance using CT scan data.
Commercialized by Imbio, a U of Michigan spinout, the Lung Density Analysis (LDA) software takes as input CT scans of the lungs during inhalation and exhalation. The software superimposes the two scans in order to align the images as closely as possible. Once aligned, the difference between the scans is measured, providing a metric that indicates the change in density of the lungs. This is done by segments so that diseased and healthy regions of the lungs can be identified. The healthier the lungs, the greater is the density change between when a person breathes in and out. The actual output of the software is a colorized map of the lungs with regions colored green being healthy, yellow not so much, and red being indicative of serious loss of that region’s lung function.