CT scans 'help predict COPD'

CT scans can be used to identify smokers likely to develop COPD, Canadian researchers believe.

A team from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver examined 143 men and women taking part in cancer screening trials. Researchers measured participants' percentage over-inflated lung area using CT scans.

They found this percentage predicted annual decline in FEV1 in smokers with a normal baseline FEV1. They suggest that overinflated lungs contain the earliest forms of lesions that initiate lung tissue destruction.

They concluded: 'Quantitative assessment... on initial CT scans may identify the "susceptible minority of smokers" who eventually will develop COPD.'

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