Pulmonary hyperinflation due to gas trapping and pulmonary artery size: The MESA COPD Study

Poor, Hooman D.; Kawut, Steven M.; Liu, Chia-Ying; Smith, Benjamin M.; Hoffman, Eric A.; Lima, Joao A.; Ambale Venkatesh, Bharath; Michos, Erin D.; Prince, Martin R.; Barr, R. Graham


Pulmonary hypertension is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Since pulmonary artery (PA) size increases in pulmonary hypertension, we measured PA cross-sectional area using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to test the hypothesis that pulmonary hyperinflation due to gas trapping is associated with PA cross-sectional area in COPD.


The MESA COPD Study recruited participants with COPD and controls from two population-based cohort studies ages 50–79 years with 10 or more pack-years and free of clinical cardiovascular disease. Body plethysmography was performed according to standard criteria. Cardiac MRI was performed at functional residual capacity to measure the cross-sectional area of the main PA. Percent emphysema was defined as the percentage of lung voxels less than -950 Hounsfield units as assessed via x-ray computed tomography. Analyses were adjusted for age, gender, height, weight, race-ethnicity, the forced expiratory volume in one second, smoking status, pack-years, lung function, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, left ventricular ejection fraction and percent emphysema.


Among 106 participants, mean residual volume was 1.98±0.71 L and the mean PA cross-sectional area was 7.23±1.72 cm2. A one standard deviation increase in residual volume was independently associated with an increase in main PA cross-sectional area of 0.55 cm2 (95% CI 0.18 to 0.92; p = 0.003). In contrast, there was no evidence for an association with percent emphysema or total lung capacity.


Increased residual volume was associated with a larger PA in COPD, suggesting that gas trapping may contribute to pulmonary hypertension in COPD.


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July 16, 2017