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      Small pulmonary vascular alteration and acute exacerbations of COPD: quantitative computed tomography analysis

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          The morphologic alterations of pulmonary small vessels measured by computed tomography (CT) have been used to evaluate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the relationship between small pulmonary vascular alteration and acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD) is not well understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the cross-sectional area (CSA) of small pulmonary vessel alterations measured on CT images and investigate its relationship with the COPD severity staged by the degree of airflow limitation and the occurrence of AECOPD. We retrospectively reviewed CT scans, clinical characteristics, and pulmonary function test results of 153 patients with COPD. All the patients were divided into AECOPD and non-AECOPD group according to the COPD staging and pulmonary function test results. The percentages of the total CSA less than 5 mm 2 and equal to 5–10 mm 2 over the lung area (%CSA <5 and %CSA 5–10, respectively) were measured. The %CSA <5 steadily decreased in relation to the increase of COPD severity. In addition, %CSA <5 of the AECOPD group was significantly lower than that of the non-AECOPD group (0.41±0.13 versus 0.68±0.18, P<0.001), and the optimal cutoff value was 0.56 (sensitivity, 0.863; specificity, 0.731). Therefore, small pulmonary vascular alteration, as measured by %CSA <5, could indicate not only the degree of COPD severity, but also the occurrence of AECOPD.

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          Most cited references 18

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                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                22 August 2016
                : 11
                : 1965-1971
                [1 ]Department of Radiology
                [2 ]Department of Respiratory, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University
                [3 ]Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Lijun Tang; Yinsu Zhu, Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province 210029, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 147 5183 0090; +86 136 7518 6571, Fax +86 25 8372 4440; +86 25 8372 4440, Email tanglijun73@ ; zhuyinsu1982@

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2016 Wang et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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