D. Litmanovich, A. Bankier, P. Gevenois
Journal name not available for this finding
Traditionally, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes pulmonary emphysema and chronic bronchitis. This definition of COPD has been recently modified by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, which has defined it as a disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. Pathologically, the chronic airflow limitation characteristic of COPD is caused by a mixture of small airway disease and parenchymal lung destruction. Computed tomography (CT) is superior to chest radiography in the detection of emphysema and in the assessment of its distribution and extent. The introduction of multidetector CT (MDCT) allows acquisition of high-resolution scans in a volumetric manner over the entire lung, and this approach has been shown to be suitable for the assessment of emphysema. The inherent limitations of subjective visual scoring, the characteristic CT morphology of emphysema, and the digital nature of the CT dataset have fostered considerable interest in the use of CT as an objective quantification tool for pulmonary emphysema. The evaluation of the airways on chest radiograph is limited, but it provides an ideal contrast in composition for CT image analysis. MDCT now allows for the acquisition of a contiguous thin section. The current techniques for evaluation of COPD increase the importance of MDCT beyond the clinical context toward its truly experimental and preclinical research modality.