Emphysema-like lung found on computed tomography (CT) is associated with an increased risk for mortality among people without airflow obstruction or COPD, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Emphysema was originally diagnosed on autopsy but is also a common “incidental” finding on chest CT done for other reasons. Reduced lung function is known to be associated with increased all-cause mortality and persons with COPD and CT-detected emphysema are known to have worse outcomes. However, the prognostic significance of emphysema on CT among patients without COPD is unknown. Researchers followed 2,965 patients who had no COPD on spirometry for six years. They found that emphysema-like lung assessed quantitatively on CT is associated with increased all-cause mortality and, therefore, is a clinically important finding.
Source: American College of Physicians