Airway Evaluation with Multidetector Computed Tomography Post-Processing Methods in Asthmatic Patients
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory obstructive airways disease. The disease occurs regardless of age and manifests with cough, attacks of breathlessness, and tightness in the chest. The pathophysiology of asthma is complex and still not fully understood. It is essential to find answers concerning the role of each part of the bronchial tree in asthma, especially the role of small bronchioles. With the development of newer generations of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) and advanced post-processing methods it is possible to obtain more detailed images and gain insight into further aspects of asthma. MDCT post-processing methods can be divided into two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D). In 2D projections, visualized hypodense regions correspond to the airway flow limitations. With the more advanced methods, such as multi planar reconstructions (MPR), images in different planes (axial, coronal, or sagittal) can be created. In the MPR technique only the voxels which are adjacent to each other in the predetermined plane can be extracted from the data set. Using the minimal/maximal intensity projections and shaded surface display, the volume of interest (VOI) can be extracted. High resolution CT scans can be used to create a more advanced imaging tool – the virtual bronchoscopy (VB). Using the VB makes it possible to visualize regions of obturation in the bronchi of up to the 5-8th generation. The MDCT with advanced post-processing methods is likely to assume an important role in the differential diagnosis of asthma, particularly when the diagnosis is dubious or hard to settle due to accompanying other lung diseases.
KeywordsAsthma Airway flow limitation Airway remodeling Bronchi Inflammatory disease Multidetector computed tomography Volume of interest
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