Objective: To assess the association of emphysema and airway disease assessed by volumetric computed tomography (CT) with exercise capacity in subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Methods: We studied 93 subjects with COPD (Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 s [FEV1] %predicted mean ± SD 57.1 ± 24.3%, female gender = 40) enrolled in the Lung Tissue Research Consortium. Emphysema was defined as percentage of low attenuation areas less than a threshold of -950 Hounsfield units (%LAA-950) on CT scan. The wall area percentage (WA%) of the 3rd to 6th generations of the apical bronchus of right upper lobe (RB1) were analyzed. The 6-min walk distance (6MWD) test was used as a measure of exercise capacity. Results: The 6MWD was inversely associated with %LAA-950 (r = -0.53, p < 0.0001) and with the WA% of 6th generation of RB1 only (r = -0.28, p = 0.009). In a multivariate regression model including CT indices of emphysema and airway disease that were adjusted for demographic and physiologic variables as well as brand of CT scanner, only the %LAA-950 remained significantly associated with exercise performance. Holding other covariates fixed, this model showed that a 10% increase of CT emphysema reduced the distance walked in 6 min 28.6 m (95% Confidence Interval = -51.2, -6.0, p = 0.01). Conclusion: These results suggest that the extent of emphysema but not airway disease measured by volumetric CT contributes independently to exercise limitation in subjects with COPD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine