Our objective was to evaluate whether the normal lung index (NLI) from quantitative computed tomography (QCT) analysis can be used to predict mortality as well as pulmonary function tests (PFTs) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and interstitial lung disease (ILD).
Materials and Methods:
Normal subjects (n=20) and patients with COPD (n=172) and ILD (n=114) who underwent PFTs and chest CT were enrolled retrospectively in this study. QCT measures included the NLI, defined as the ratio of the lung with attenuation between –950 and –700 Hounsfield units (HU) over the total lung volume (−1024 to −250 HU, mL), high-attenuation area (–700 to –250 HU, %), emphysema index (>6% of pixels < –950 HU), skewness, kurtosis, and mean lung attenuation. Coefficients of correlation between QCT measurements and PFT results in all subjects were calculated. Univariate and multivariate survival analyses were performed to assess mortality prediction by disease.
The Pearson correlation analysis showed that the NLI correlated moderately with the forced expiratory volume in 1 second in subjects with COPD (r=0.490, P<0.001) and the forced vital capacity in subjects with ILD (r=0.452, P<0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that the NLI of <70% was a significant independent predictor of mortality in subjects with COPD (hazard ratio=3.14, P=0.034) and ILD (hazard ratio=2.72, P=0.005).
QCT analysis, specifically the NLI, can also be used to predict mortality in individuals with COPD and ILD.