Quantitative CT-based image registration metrics provide different ventilation and lung motion patterns in prone and supine positions in healthy subjects

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Shin, Kyung Min; Choi, Jiwoong; Chae, Kum Ju; Jin, Gong Yong; Eskandari, Ali; Hoffman, Eric A; Hall, Chase; Castro, Mario; Lee, Chang Hyun
Issue Date
Respiratory Research. 2020 Oct 02;21(1):254
Previous studies suggested that the prone position (PP) improves oxygenation and reduces mortality among patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). However, the mechanism of this clinical benefit of PP is not completely understood. The aim of the present study was to quantitatively compare regional characteristics of lung functions in the PP with those in the supine position (SP) using inspiratory and expiratory computed tomography (CT) scans.

Ninety subjects with normal pulmonary function and inspiration and expiration CT images were included in the study. Thirty-four subjects were scanned in PP, and 56 subjects were scanned in SP. Non-rigid image registration-based inspiratory-expiratory image matching assessment was used for regional lung function analysis. Tissue fractions (TF) were computed based on the CT density and compared on a lobar basis. Three registration-derived functional variables, relative regional air volume change (RRAVC), volumetric expansion ratio (J), and three-dimensional relative regional displacement (s*) were used to evaluate regional ventilation and deformation characteristics.

J was greater in PP than in SP in the right middle lobe (P = 0 .025), and RRAVC was increased in the upper and right middle lobes (P < 0.001). The ratio of the TF on inspiratory and expiratory scans, J, and RRAVC at the upper lobes to those at the middle and lower lobes and that ratio at the upper and middle lobes to those at the lower lobes of were all near unity in PP, and significantly higher than those in SP (0.98–1.06 vs 0.61–0.94, P < 0.001).

We visually and quantitatively observed that PP not only induced more uniform contributions of regional lung ventilation along the ventral-dorsal axis but also minimized the lobar differences of lung functions in comparison with SP. This may help in the clinicians search for an understanding of the benefits of the application of PP to the patients with ARDS or other gravitationally dependent pathologic lung diseases.

Trial registration
Retrospectively registered.
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