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Respir Med. 2006 Oct;100(10):1742-52. Epub 2006 Mar 23.

Characteristics of COPD phenotypes classified according to the findings of HRCT.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan.


The present study was performed to clarify the clinical characteristics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients classified into phenotypes according to the dominancy of emphysema and the presence of bronchial wall thickening evaluated by chest high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT). Eighty-five patients with stable COPD (FEV1 < or = 80%) were examined by chest HRCT. Emphysematous changes and bronchial wall thickening were evaluated visually, and COPD patients were classified into three phenotypes: absence of emphysema, with little emphysema with or without bronchial wall thickening (A phenotype), emphysema without bronchial wall thickening (E phenotype), and emphysema with bronchial wall thickening phenotype (M phenotype). Clinical characteristics were compared among the three phenotypes. The A phenotype group showed a higher prevalence of subjects who had never smoked and patients with wheezing, higher values of body mass index (BMI) and DLco, milder lung hyperinflation, and greater reversibility of airflow limitation responsive to inhaled beta2-agonist as compared with the other phenotypes. The degree of emphysema was significantly associated with Brinkman index, lower BMI, decrease in DLco, lower FEV1/FVC. The presence of bronchial wall thickening in A- and M- phenotype was significantly associated with reversibility responsive to treatment with inhaled corticosteroid and sputum eosinophilia. These findings suggest that the morphological phenotypes of COPD show several clinical characteristics and different responsiveness to treatment with bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids.

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