Background: We assessed the difference in lung motion during inspiration/expiration between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and healthy volunteers using vector-field dynamic x-ray (VF-DXR) with optical flow method (OFM). Methods: We enrolled 36 COPD patients and 47 healthy volunteers, classified according to pulmonary function into: normal, COPD mild, and COPD severe. Contrast gradient was obtained from sequential dynamic x-ray (DXR) and converted to motion vector using OFM. VF-DXR images were created by projection of the vertical component of lung motion vectors onto DXR images. The maximum magnitude of lung motion vectors in tidal inspiration/expiration, forced inspiration/expiration were selected and defined as lung motion velocity (LMV). Correlations between LMV with demographics and pulmonary function and differences in LMV between COPD patients and healthy volunteers were investigated. Results: Negative correlations were confirmed between LMV and % forced expiratory volume in one second (%FEV1) in the tidal inspiration in the right lung (Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, rs = -0.47, p < 0.001) and the left lung (rs = -0.32, p = 0.033). A positive correlation between LMV and %FEV1 in the tidal expiration was observed only in the right lung (rs = 0.25, p = 0.024). LMVs among normal, COPD mild and COPD severe groups were different in the tidal respiration. COPD mild group showed a significantly larger magnitude of LMV compared with the normal group. Conclusions: In the tidal inspiration, the lung parenchyma moved faster in COPD patients compared with healthy volunteers. VF-DXR was feasible for the assessment of lung parenchyma using LMV.
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