Pulmonary arterial remodeling in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is lobe dependent

Jeremy P Wrobel, Catriona Ann McLean, Bruce Robert Thompson, Christopher Richard Stuart-Andrews, Eldho Paul, Gregory I Snell, Trevor John Williams

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Pulmonary arterial remodeling has been demonstrated in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but it is not known whether lobar heterogeneity of remodeling occurs. Furthermore, the relationship between pulmonary hypertension (PH) and pulmonary arterial remodeling in COPD has not been established. Muscular pulmonary arterial remodeling in arteries 0.10–0.25 mm in diameter was assessed in COPD-explanted lungs and autopsy controls. Remodeling was quantified as the percentage wall thickness to vessel diameter (%WT) using digital image analysis. Repeat measures mixed-effects remodeling for %WT was performed according to lobar origin (upper and lower), muscular pulmonary arterial size (small, medium, and large), and echocardiography-based pulmonary arterial pressure (no PH, mild PH, and moderate-tosevere PH). Lobar perfusion and emphysema indices were determined from ventilationperfusion and computed tomography scans, respectively. Overall, %WT was greater in 42 subjects with COPD than in 5 control subjects (P < 0:0001). Within the COPD group, %WT was greater in the upper lobes (P < 0:0001) and in the small muscular pulmonary arteries (P < 0:0001). Lobar differences were most pronounced in medium and large arteries. Lobar emphysema index was not associated with arterial remodeling. However, there was a significant positive relationship between the lobar perfusion index and pulmonary arterial remodeling (P = 0:024). The presence of PH on echocardiography showed only a trend to a small effect on lower lobe remodeling. The pattern of pulmonary arterial remodeling in COPD is complicated and lobe dependent. Differences in regional blood flow partially account for the lobar heterogeneity of pulmonary arterial remodeling in COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-674
Number of pages10
JournalPulmonary Circulation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2013


  • Emphysema
  • Pathology
  • Pulmonary circulation
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Regional blood flow

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