Emphysema and lung volume reduction: the role of radiology
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. One of the main findings is pulmonary emphysema in association with chronic bronchitis. Clinical signs, pulmonary function tests and imaging are the current used methods to diagnose and stage emphysema. Lung volume reduction (LVR) and endoscopic lung volume reduction (ELVR) are the current therapeutic options beside lung transplantation in cases of severe emphysema. Nowadays imaging is one of the key factors for the success of these therapies. Especially quantitative computed tomography (CT) with its increasing possibilities has become a viable tool, providing detailed information about distribution and heterogeneity of emphysema. Other imaging techniques like dual-energy CT (DECT) and functional magnetic resonance (MR) have shown to add functional information. These structural and functional information support thoracic surgeons and interventional pulmonologists in selecting patients and optimizing LVR procedures but also enables the development of new endobronchial therapies. Imaging will further improve the individual outcome by supporting the choice of optimal therapy.