Article Abstract

Quantification of pleural plaques by computed tomography and correlations with pulmonary function: preliminary study

Authors: Yoon Ki Cha, Jeung Sook Kim, Jae Hyun Kwon


Background: The aims of this study were to quantify pleural plaque volumes (PPVs) by computed tomography (CT) and investigate relations between PPV and pulmonary function after excluding other factors that might affect pulmonary function.
Methods: Twenty-six subjects with pleural plaques and pulmonary function test (PFT) results among 1,544 subjects that registered with the Korea Environment Corporation for asbestos damage relief from January 2011 to December 2015 were included. Subjects with CT evidence of lung diseases and/or previous surgery were excluded. PPVs were measured by tracing the outlines of all pleural plaques on CT images. Patients were allocated to three groups by PPV, as follows, <10, 10–20, or ≥20 mL, and the PFT results of these groups were analyzed and compared. Simple linear regression analysis and multiple regression analysis were used to evaluate correlations between PPV and PFT variables.
Results: No significant relationship was found between total PPV and pulmonary function indices or between PPV groups and PFT results (P>0.05). However, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) values in the higher PPV group (≥20 mL) tended to be lower, indicating a restrictive pattern of pulmonary function.
Conclusions: We quantified PPV on CT and found out higher PPV tended to exhibit a restrictive pattern. However, pleural plaques alone were not found to be significantly associated with pulmonary function.