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Monday 01 March 1999

High resolution computed tomography (HRCT) assessment of beta 2-agonist induced bronchodilation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients.

By: De Luca N, Capuzi P, D'Angeli AL, D'Antoni L, Pavone P, De Santis M, Di Girolamo M, Catalano C, Passariello R.

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 1999 Mar-Apr;3(2):83-7

The evaluation of airway obstruction reversibility in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients is currently performed by means of an indirect assessment of drug inducing variations in pulmonary function tests. Imaging techniques, especially high resolution computed tomography (HRCT), usually provide a complete evaluation of lung parenchyma (bronchial and vascular structures), but so far they have never been applied to visualize the effects on the bronchopulmonary tree of some pharmacologic stimuli (beta 2 adrenergic agonist), currently used in clinical practice to disclose the presence of airway reversibility. In order to assess the possible role of HRCT in this setting, five COPD patients have been subjected to a double functional radiologic evaluation before and after salbutamol-induced broncho-dilation, with a rigorous assessment of bronchial diameter changes by means of "bronchus-vessel" ratio, currently used for diagnosing bronchiectasis in COPD patients. The results of this experimental study enable us to visualize drug induced broncho-dilation, with a direct assessment of airway reversibility in these patients, and to show a good correlation between functional and HRCT findings, raising the possibility of evaluation COPD patients with abnormal spirometric results or with early signs of lung involvement.

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