, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 199-206

Abnormalities of the airways and lung parenchyma in asthmatics: CT observations in 50 patients and inter- and intraobserver variability

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The purpose of the study was to evaluate the CT abnormalities of airways and lung parenchyma in asthmatic patients and to assess inter- and intraobserver variability for these abnormalities. The CT scans of 50 asthmatic patients and 10 healthy volunteers were assessed independently by four independent chest radiologist who were masked with respect to the clinical information. Bronchiectasis involving mostly subsegmental and distal bronchi was noted in 28.5% of the asthmatic subjects and none of the non-asthmatics. Bronchial wall thickening, small centrilobular opacities and decreased lung attenuation were observed in 82%, 21% and 31% of asthmatic patients respectively, compared with 7%, 5% and 7% of healthy subjects. The intra- and inter-observer agreements for these four CT abnormalities were measured by the kappa statistic and ranged from 0.60 to 0.79 and from 0.40 to 0.60, respectively. It os concluded that asthmatic patients may exhibit bronchial wall thickening, bronchiectasis and morphological abnormalities suggestive of distal airways disease that can be assessed on CT scans with a clinically acceptable observer variability.

Correspondence to: P. Grenier