26 October 2017
The aims of this study were to evaluate dynamic changes in heart size during the respiratory cycle using four-dimensional computed tomography (CT) and to understand the relationship of these changes to airflow limitation in smokers.
A total of 31 smokers, including 13 with COPD, underwent four-dimensional dynamic-ventilation CT during regular breathing. CT data were continuously reconstructed every 0.5 s, including maximum cross-sectional area (CSA) of the heart and mean lung density (MLD). Concordance between the cardiac CSA and MLD time curves was expressed by cross-correlation coefficients. The CT-based cardiothoracic ratio at inspiration and expiration was also calculated. Comparisons of the CT indices between COPD patients and non-COPD smokers were made using the Mann–Whitney test. Spearman rank correlation analysis was used to evaluate associations between CT indices and the forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV 1.0) relative to the forced vital capacity (FVC).
Cardiac CSA at both inspiration and expiration was significantly smaller in COPD patients than in non-COPD smokers ( P<0.05). The cross-correlation coefficient between cardiac CSA and MLD during expiration significantly correlated with FEV 1.0/FVC (ρ=0.63, P<0.001), suggesting that heart size decreases during expiration in COPD patients. The change in the cardiothoracic ratio between inspiration and expiration frames was significantly smaller in COPD patients than in non-COPD smokers ( P<0.01).