Can aerosol-derived airway morphometry detect early, asymptomatical lung emphysema?
The aerosol-derived airway morphometry technique (ADAM) can be used to assess non-invasively peripheral airspace dimensions. It has been shown that this technique can identify permanent peripheral airspace enlargement in patients with lung emphysema, but it is yet unknown if early stages of emphysema can be detected. In this study, 89 aluminum welders were investigated. Although all (except two subjects) showed normal spirometry, in 29% of the subjects visual signs of early emphysema were observed with high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) in a previous study. Using the ADAM technique, 28% of the subjects showed increased peripheral airspace dimensions. However, both groups with positive findings overlapped only in about half of the cases. Peripheral airspace dimensions correlated significantly with the mean lung density calculated from the HRCT scans, and lung density was significantly decreased in the group with increased airspace dimensions. The poor overlap of the positive fin