Markers of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) severity are based on measurements of forced vital capacity (FVC), diffusing capacity (DLCO) and CT. The pulmonary vessel volume (PVV) is a novel quantitative and independent prognostic structural indicator derived from automated CT analysis. The current prospective cross-sectional study investigated whether respiratory oscillometry provides complementary data to pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and is correlated with PVV.
From September 2019 to March 2020, we enrolled 89 patients with IPF diagnosed according to international guidelines. We performed standard spectral (5-37 Hz) and novel intrabreath tracking (10 Hz) oscillometry followed by PFTs. Patients were characterised with the gender-age-physiology (GAP) score. CT images within 6 months of oscillometry were analysed in a subgroup (26 patients) using automated lung texture analysis. Correlations between PFTs, oscillometry and imaging variables were investigated using different regression models.
The cohort (29F/60M; age=71.7±7.8 years) had mild IPF (%FVC=70±17, %DLCO=62±17). Spectral oscillometry revealed normal respiratory resistance, low reactance, especially during inspiration at 5 Hz (X5in), elevated reactance area and resonance frequency. Intrabreath oscillometry identified markedly low reactance at end-inspiration (XeI). XeI and X5in strongly correlated with FVC (r2=0.499 and 0.435) while XeI was highly (p=0.004) and uniquely correlated with the GAP score. XeI and PVV exhibited the strongest structural-functional relationship (r2=0.690), which remained significant after adjusting for %FVC, %DLCO and GAP score.
XeI is an independent marker of IPF severity that offers additional information to standard PFTs. The data provide a cogent rationale for adding oscillometry in IPF assessment.