Objectives: To assess the association of projected lung area (PLA) measured by DXR with demographic data, pulmonary function, and COPD severity, and to generate PLA over time curves using automated tracking. Methods: This retrospective study recruited healthy volunteers and COPD patients. Participants were classified into three groups: normal, COPD mild and COPD severe. PLA was calculated from the manually traced bilateral lung contours. PLA over time curves were produced using automated tracking, which was used to calculate slope and intercept by approximate line during forced expiration. The correlation of PLA, difference of PLA between end-inspiration and end-expiration (ΔPLA), slope, and intercept with demographic data and pulmonary function tests were investigated. The difference of PLA, ΔPLA, intercept, and slope among three groups were also evaluated. Results: This study enrolled 45 healthy volunteers and 32 COPD patients. COPD severe group had larger PLA in both lungs at tidal/forced end-inspiration/expiration, smaller slope, and larger intercept than normal group (p < 0.001). PLA was correlated with % forced expiratory volume in one second (%FEV1) (rs from −0.42 to −0.31, p ≤ 0.01). ΔPLA in forced breathing showed moderate correlation with vital capacity (VC) (rs = 0.58, p < 0.001), while ΔPLA in tidal breathing showed moderate correlation with %FEV1 (rs = -0.52, p < 0.001) as well as mild correlation with tidal volume (rs = 0.24, p = 0.032). Intercept was slightly underestimated compared with manually contoured PLA (p < 0.001). Conclusion: COPD patients had larger PLA than healthy volunteers. PLA and ΔPLA in tidal breathing showed mild to moderate correlation with %FEV1.
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