Bronchial wall parameters on CT in healthy never-smoking, smoking, COPD, and asthma populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ivan Dudurych, Susan Muiser, Niall McVeigh, Huib A.M. Kerstjens, Maarten van den Berge, Marleen de Bruijne, Rozemarijn Vliegenthart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: Research on computed tomography (CT) bronchial parameter measurements shows that there are conflicting results on the values for bronchial parameters in the never-smoking, smoking, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) populations. This review assesses the current CT methods for obtaining bronchial wall parameters and their comparison between populations. Methods: A systematic review of MEDLINE and Embase was conducted following PRISMA guidelines (last search date 25th October 2021). Methodology data was collected and summarised. Values of percentage wall area (WA%), wall thickness (WT), summary airway measure (Pi10), and luminal area (Ai) were pooled and compared between populations. Results: A total of 169 articles were included for methodologic review; 66 of these were included for meta-analysis. Most measurements were obtained from multiplanar reconstructions of segmented airways (93 of 169 articles), using various tools and algorithms; third generation airways in the upper and lower lobes were most frequently studied. COPD (12,746) and smoking (15,092) populations were largest across studies and mostly consisted of men (median 64.4%, IQR 61.5 – 66.1%). There were significant differences between populations; the largest WA% was found in COPD (mean SD 62.93 ± 7.41%, n = 6,045), and the asthma population had the largest Pi10 (4.03 ± 0.27 mm, n = 442). Ai normalised to body surface area (Ai/BSA) (12.46 ± 4 mm2, n = 134) was largest in the never-smoking population. Conclusions: Studies on CT-derived bronchial parameter measurements are heterogenous in methodology and population, resulting in challenges to compare outcomes between studies. Significant differences between populations exist for several parameters, most notably in the wall area percentage; however, there is a large overlap in their ranges. Key Points: • Diverse methodology in measuring airways contributes to overlap in ranges of bronchial parameters among the never-smoking, smoking, COPD, and asthma populations. • The combined number of never-smoking participants in studies is low, limiting insight into this population and the impact of participant characteristics on bronchial parameters. • Wall area percent of the right upper lobe apical segment is the most studied (87 articles) and differentiates all except smoking vs asthma populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5308-5318
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is part of the first author’s PhD which has received funding by IMDI (Innovative Medical Devices Initiative)/ZonMW (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).


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