Skip to main content
main-content

01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Pulmonary Medicine 1/2015

Different KCO and VA combinations exist for the same DLCO value in patients with diffuse parenchymal lung diseases

Zeitschrift:
BMC Pulmonary Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2015
Autoren:
Jean Pastre, Laurent Plantier, Carole Planes, Raphaël Borie, Hilario Nunes, Christophe Delclaux, Dominique Israël-Biet
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

JP, DIB and CD2 designed the cohort design and analysis plan. Analyses were performed by CD2. All authors (JP, LP, CP, RB, HN, CD2 and DIB) contributed to recruitment, data collection, discussion of results and final approval of the submitted manuscript.
Abbreviations
DLCO
carbon monoxide diffusing capacity
KCO
rate for carbon monoxide uptake
VA
alveolar volume
DPLD
diffuse parenchymal lung disease
IPF
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
CTD-ILDs
connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung diseases
PFT
pulmonary function test
SDS
standard deviation score
FVC
forced vital capacity
FEV1
forced expiratory volume in 1 second
FRC
forced respiratory capacity
TLC
total lung capacity
sRaw
specific airway resistance

Background

The single-breath carbon monoxide diffusing capacity (DL CO) is the product of two measurements during breath holding at full inflation: the rate constant for carbon monoxide uptake from alveolar gas (K CO [minute −1]) and the “accessible” alveolar volume (V A). Consequently, the same DL CO may result from various combinations of K CO and V A values. Changes in each of K CO and V A may reflect different injury sites and mechanisms. In theory, the decrease in DL CO may result from a fall in V A (mainly due to restrictive and/or obstructive defects) and/or a fall in K CO (due to alveolar/capillary damage or a microvascular disease). Few studies have focused on the significance of DL CO in diffuse parenchymal lung diseases (DPLD) [ 15], highlighting the prognostic value of its component K CO. No study to our knowledge has sought to assess the validity of the above mentioned theory in the context of DPLD. Our primary objective in the present study was to assess in a large cohort of distinct types of DPLD the potential variability of both V A and K CO for fixed values of DL CO. A secondary objective was to determine whether a low V A value in this context might reflect a distal airway obstruction in addition to a potential restrictive defect. To this end, we designed a retrospective, cross-sectional study of three distinct types of DPLD: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF, the prototype for fibrotic pulmonary diseases predominantly affecting the lower lobes), stage IV sarcoidosis (predominantly affecting the upper lobes) and connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung diseases (CTD-ILDs, which are usually characterized by diffuse, inflammatory lesions rather than fibrotic damage).

Methods

Each of three university hospitals in France provided pulmonary function test (PFT) datasets from around 80 DPLD patients (75, 80 and 87 patients, respectively). Pulmonary function tests had been performed according to international recommendations and had used similar quality criteria [ 68]. Only raw PFT data were provided and % predicted values were subsequently calculated by a single investigator (CD2) for the whole population according to Stanojevic for spirometry [ 9] and other international recommendations for DL CO and static lung volumes respectively [ 10, 11]. The PFTs (spirometry, body plethysmography and single-breath carbon monoxide transfer) using routine techniques had been performed for clinical purposes. We got approval from the Institutional Review Board of the French learned society for respiratory medicine – Société de Pneumologie de Langue française, which judged our study as fully observational and which therefore did not require any informed consent.
Two-hundred and forty-two patients with complete datasets were retrospectively assigned to IPF (n = 85), sarcoidosis (n = 73) or CTD-ILD (n = 84) groups. Patients with IPF and CTD-ILD exhibited lower values of DL CO than those with sarcoidosis (43 ± 18 % predicted (11-89 %), 44 ± 15 (12-88 %), and 56 ± 18 % (19-115 %), in IPF, CTD-ILD and sarcoidosis, respectively, p < 0.0001). Then, three PFT datasets (one per group) were matched for DL CO % predicted (agreement 5 %, by a single investigator (CD2)) to allow comparisons of the groups at similar levels of DL CO. Consequently, 77 patients were excluded from the analysis due to matching selection (for instance IPF and CTD-ILD subjects with very low DL CO % predicted values and sarcoidosis subjects with high DL CO values). Results were expressed as means ± SD. Continuous variables were compared using the Student’s t-test or the analysis of variance (ANOVA, see Table) as appropriate. The chi-squared test was used for the comparison of qualitative variables (smoking history). Statistical significance was defined by a p value <0.05. All analyses were performed using the Statview 4 package (SAS institute, Grenoble, France).

Results

One hundred and sixty-five PFT datasets (55 per group) were analysed (Table  1). The three study groups had similar mean values for K CO and V A as well as for DL CO (the matching criterion). However, on an individual patient basis, a similar DL CO could be obtained from various combinations of K CO and V A (Fig.  1). This figure clearly shows that K CO can vary from decreased (diffuse loss of units) to normal or barely increased (discrete loss of units) values. We show here that for a similar DL CO value of 50 % predicted, for instance, K CO varied from 60 to 95 % predicted and V A from 55 to 85 % predicted.
Table 1
Demographic and functional characteristics of the study participants
 
IPF
Sarcoidosis
CTD-ILD
P value (ANOVA)
Between-groups difference
n = 55
n = 55
n = 55
gr. 1
gr. 2
gr. 3
Centre 1/2/3, n
15/22/18
12/25/18
29/12/14
0.007
Not tested
Gender, F/M
15/40
27/28
24/31
0.048
Not tested
Age, years
71 ± 8
52 ± 11
60 ± 14
<0.001
2<3<1
Height, cm
167 ± 9
168 ± 10
167 ± 9
0.812
 
History of smoking
23/27/5
33/19/3
25/26/4
0.383
 
(never/ex/current smokers)
         
FEV 1, L
2.17 ± 0.69
1.87 ± 0.65
2.18 ± 0.66
0.023
Not tested
FEV 1, % predicted
82 ± 21
59 ± 17
74 ± 15
<0.001
2<3<1
FVC, L
2.65 ± 0.68
2.66 ± 0.81
2.65 ± 0.89
0.994
 
FVC, % predicted
74 ± 19
66 ± 15
68 ± 15
0.053
 
FEV 1/FVC
0.83 ± 0.07
0.71 ± 0.14
0.84 ± 0.07
<0.001
Not tested
FEV 1/FVC, % predicted
109 ± 10
90 ± 17
108 ± 9
<0.001
2<1-3
TLC, L
4.50 ± 1.23
4.67 ± 1.20
4.39 ± 1.15
0.486
 
TLC, % predicted
75 ± 16
80 ± 17
75 ± 15
0.147
 
FRC, L
2.51 ± 0.69
2.65 ± 0.64
2.53 ± 0.70
0.582
 
FRC, % predicted
77 ± 18
87 ± 25
81 ± 20
0.038
1<2
RV, L
1.76 ± 0.47
1.90 ± 0.69
1.67 ± 0.41
0.078
 
RV, % predicted
73 ± 18
97 ± 30
80 ± 22
<0.001
1-3<2
RV/TLC
0.40 ± 0.06
0.41 ± 0.09
0.39 ± 0.07
0.362
 
V A, L
3.66 ± 0.96
3.70 ± 0.92
3.66 ± 1.01
0.972
 
K CO, mmol/min/kPa/L
1.00 ± 0.23
1.20 ± 0.30
1.07 ± 0.30
<0.001
 
K CO, % predicted
75 ± 17
77 ± 20
72 ± 19
0.507
Not tested
DL CO, mmol/min/kPa
3.68 ± 1.37
4.45 ± 1.65
4.02 ± 1.66
0.040
 
DL CO, % predicted
48 ± 15
49 ± 14
47 ± 16
0.737
Not tested
V A/TLC
0.81 ± 0.06
0.80 ± 0.08
0.83 ± 0.06
0.047
3>2
Abbreviations: IPF idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, CTD-ILDs connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung diseases, FVC forced vital capacity, FEV 1 forced expiratory volume in 1 s, FRC forced respiratory capacity, TLC total lung capacity, DL CO carbon monoxide diffusing capacity, K CO rate for carbon monoxide uptake, V A alveolar volume
In addition, 17 patients exhibited an airflow limitation (FEV 1/FVC < lower limit of normal). They all belonged to the sarcoidosis group (Table  1). The reduction in alveolar volume (measured using a dilution technique) relative to total lung volume (TLC, measured using body plethysmography), expressed as V A/TLC, was correlated with parameters of central airway obstruction (FEV 1/FVC: r 2 = 0.10, p < 0.001) and even more strongly with distal airway obstruction (RV/TLC: r 2 = 0.25, p < 0.001). Since the V A/TLC value of the population as a whole may seem lower than expected (Table  1) even in patients without significant airflow limitation (n = 148, FEV 1/FVC = 0.82 ± 0.06), we further evaluated whether some patients exhibited a small airways obstructive syndrome defined by a normal FEV 1/FVC ratio and a greater reduction of both FEV 1 and FVC than TLC (FVC % predicted/TLC % predicted < 0.80). We found 20 such subjects, described in Table  2. Similarly to proximal airflow limitation, small airways obstructive syndrome was predominantly present in sarcoidosis.
Table 2
Small airway obstructive syndrome (SAOS) in patients without proximal airflow limitation (FEV1/FVC > lower limit of normal)
Characteristic
With SAOS
Without SAOS
P value
 
N = 20
N = 128
 
IPF/sarcoidosis/CTD-ILD, n
2/11/7
53/27/48
0.002
Gender, F/M
14/6
45/83
0.006
Age, years
54 ± 14
64 ± 13
0.003
Body mass index, kg.m −2
25.8 ± 5.3
26.2 ± 3.8
0.664
FEV 1, % predicted
55 ± 13
78 ± 17
<0.001
FVC, % predicted
54 ± 14
72 ± 16
<0.001
FEV 1/FVC, % predicted
101 ± 13
107 ± 10
0.031
TLC, % predicted
75 ± 17
76 ± 15
0.786
FRC, % predicted
83 ± 23
78 ± 19
0.309
RV, % predicted
98 ± 27
76 ± 19
<0.001
RV/TLC
0.48 ± 0.07
0.38 ± 0.06
<0.001
V A/TLC
0.77 ± 0.07
0.83 ± 0.05
<0.001
Abbreviations: IPF idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, CTD-ILDs connective tissue disease-associated interstitial lung diseases, FVC forced vital capacity, FEV 1 forced expiratory volume in 1 s, FRC forced respiratory capacity, TLC total lung capacity, V A alveolar volume

Discussion

Our present study confirms that an abnormally low DL CO can result from very different combinations of the primary measurements K CO and V A. This was the case for all three types of DPLD. Furthermore, the assessment of V A/TLC [ 12], the latter being obtained from body plethysmography, may suggest both central or peripheral airway obstruction and this was observed particularly in sarcoidosis thereby providing additional clues to the pathogenic features of this condition. We recently described diseases associated with a small airway obstructive syndrome (a non-specific pattern frequently observed in pulmonary function testing units [ 13]). It is noteworthy that in that study, sarcoidosis and interstitial pneumonia were two of the conditions associated with this pattern. In the present work, we extend our previous data showing that a DPLD can exhibit a mixed pattern associating both a restrictive syndrome and a small airways obstructive syndrome.

Conclusions

In conclusion, we confirmed that the components of DL CO (K CO and V A) may largely vary in DPLD while DL CO appears constant. The magnitudes of K CO and V A values might indicate distinct disease mechanisms and thereby bear a relative prognostic value in addition to giving clues to pathogenesis of these diseases. For these reasons, clinicians should take into account not only DL CO but also V A and K CO when seeking to assess DPLD, in order to provide a more informed and better care to these patients.

Acknowledgements

The authors thank Mr David FRASER (Biotech Communication) for his writing assistance.
Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0/​), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://​creativecommons.​org/​publicdomain/​zero/​1.​0/​) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

JP, DIB and CD2 designed the cohort design and analysis plan. Analyses were performed by CD2. All authors (JP, LP, CP, RB, HN, CD2 and DIB) contributed to recruitment, data collection, discussion of results and final approval of the submitted manuscript.
Literatur
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2015

BMC Pulmonary Medicine 1/2015 Zur Ausgabe

Neu im Fachgebiet Innere Medizin

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Innere Medizin und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.

© Springer Medizin 

Bildnachweise