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Dual-energy CT lung perfusion in systemic sclerosis: preliminary experience in 101 patients



To investigate lung perfusion in systemic sclerosis (SSc).


The study population included 101 patients who underwent dual-energy CT (DECT) in the follow-up of SSc with pulmonary function tests obtained within 2 months. Fifteen patients had right heart catheterization–proven PH.


Thirty-seven patients had no SSc-related lung involvement (Group A), 56 patients had SSc-related interstitial lung disease (Group B) of variable extent (Group B mild: ≤ 10% of lung parenchyma involved: n = 17; Group B moderate: between 11 and 50%: n = 31; Group B severe: > 50%: n = 8), and 8 patients had PVOD/PCH (Group C). Lung perfusion was abnormal in 8 patients in Group A (21.6%), 14 patients in Group B (25%), and 7 patients in Group C (87.5%). In Group A and Group B mild (n = 54), (a) patients with abnormal lung perfusion (n = 14; 26%) had a higher proportion of NYHA III/IV scores of dyspnea (7 [50%] vs 7 [17.5%]; p = 0.031) and a shorter mean walking distance at the 6MWT (397.0 [291.0; 466.0] vs 495.0 [381.0; 549.0]; p = 0.042) but no evidence of difference in the DLCO% predicted (61.0 [53.0; 67.0] vs 68.0 [61.0; 78.0]; p = 0.055) when compared to patients with normal lung perfusion (n = 40; 74%); (b) a negative correlation was found between the iodine concentration in both lungs and the DLCO% predicted but it did not reach statistical significance (r = −0.27; p = 0.059) and no correlation was found with the PAPs (r = 0.16; p = 0.29) and walking distance during the 6MWT (r = −0.029; p = 0.84).


DECT lung perfusion provides complementary information to standard HRCT scans, depicting perfusion changes in SSc patients with normal or minimally infiltrated lung parenchyma.

Key Points

• In a retrospective observational study of 101 consecutive patients with SSc, dual-energy CT pulmonary angiography was obtained to evaluate lung perfusion.

• Lung perfusion was abnormal in 14 out of 54 patients (26%) with no or mild SSc-related lung infiltration.

• Patients with abnormal perfusion and no or mild SSc-related lung infiltration had more severe scores of dyspnea and shorter walking distance than patients with similar lung findings and normal perfusion, suggesting the presence of small vessel vasculopathy.

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Six-minute walk test


Diffusing capacity of the lung


Interstitial lung disease


New York Heart Association


Systolic pulmonary artery pressure


Pulmonary capillary hemangiomatosis


Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease


Systemic sclerosis


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Correspondence to Martine Remy-Jardin.

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The scientific guarantor of this publication is Martine Remy-Jardin.

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The authors of this manuscript declare relationships with the following companies: Siemens Healthineers.

Statistics and biometry

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Dupont, A., Koether, V., Labreuche, J. et al. Dual-energy CT lung perfusion in systemic sclerosis: preliminary experience in 101 patients. Eur Radiol (2022).

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  • CT angiography
  • Dual-energy CT
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Lung perfusion