Prevalence of Tracheal Collapse in an Emphysema Cohort as Measured With End-expiration CT

Department of Radiological Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024-2926, USA.
Academic radiology (Impact Factor: 1.75). 02/2009; 16(1):46-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.acra.2008.05.020
Source: PubMed


To retrospectively investigate the prevalence of tracheal collapse in an emphysema cohort. The occurrence of a large degree of tracheal collapse may have important implications for the clinical management of respiratory symptoms and air trapping in patients with emphysema.
Paired full-inspiratory and end-expiratory thin-section volumetric computed tomographic scans were available for 1071 long-term smokers with clinically and physiologically confirmed emphysema. The percentage reduction in the cross-sectional tracheal luminal area from full-inspiration to end-expiration was automatically computed at 2.5-mm intervals along the centerline of the trachea using customized software.
Maximal tracheal collapse did not follow a normal distribution in the emphysema cohort (P < .0001, skewness/kurtosis tests for normality); the median collapse was 18% (intraquartile range, 11%-30%). Statistically significant differences were found in the distribution of maximal collapse by gender (P < .005, Wilcoxon rank sum test). Overall, 10.5% of men and 17.1% of women showed evidence of tracheomalacia on the basis of the criterion of a reduction of 50% or greater in cross-sectional tracheal luminal area at end-expiration.
This study offers insights into the prevalence of tracheal collapse in a cohort of patients with emphysema; future work is needed to determine the possible relationship between tracheal collapse and air trapping in subjects with emphysema.

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