The structure-function link of the small airways in chronic obstructive pulmonray diseaese (COPD).

Project Details


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is characterized by airflow limitation and includes chronic obstructive bronchitis and/or emphysema. Given the heterogeneity of the structural abnormalities and pathophysiology characterizing COPD, the lung function impairment and response to treatment cannot be adequately reflected in standard lung function parameters [1]. We have developed a non-invasive tool which measures ventilation heterogeneity caused by structural heterogeneity, the Multiple Breath Washout (MBW), for which we have recently co-authored a European Respiratory Society endorsed standardization document [2]. MBW derived parameters can reflect the structure of air spaces at different lung depths, based on state-of-the-art lung modeling work [3]. In parallel to these developments on the part of functional testing, imaging modalities have also expanded tremendously over the past decade, now enabling a detailed airway quantification including individual lumen cross section and wall thickness down the tracheobronchial tree [4]. The present study is aimed at finding the link between lung functional hallmarks of COPD patients measured by MBW and key structural airway features derived from high resolution computed tomography imaging. This will enable us to identify the airways and subtending air spaces that are responsible for the heterogeneous ventilation, constituting a mechanistic part of COPD pathophysiology that can eventually be better targeted by therapy.
Effective start/end date1/01/1531/12/15

Flemish discipline codes

  • (Bio)medical engineering


  • medical technology
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease