Impact of chronic systolic heart failure on lung structure–function relationships in large airways

Steven C. Chase, Courtney M. Wheatley, Lyle J. Olson, Kenneth C. Beck, Robert J. Wentz, Eric M. Snyder, Bryan J. Taylor, Bruce D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Heart failure (HF) is often associated with pulmonary congestion, reduced lung function, abnormal gas exchange, and dyspnea. We tested whether pulmonary congestion is associated with expanded vascular beds or an actual increase in extravascular lung water (EVLW) and how airway caliber is affected in stable HF. Subsequently we assessed the influence of an inhaled short acting beta agonist (SABA). Thirty-one HF (7F; age, 62 ± 11 years; ht. 175 ± 9 cm; wt. 91 ± 17 kg; LVEF, 28 ± 15%) and 29 controls (11F; age; 56 ± 11 years; ht. 174 ± 8 cm; wt. 77 ± 14 kg) completed the study. Subjects performed PFTs and a chest computed tomography (CT) scan before and after SABA. CT measures of attenuation, skew, and kurtosis were obtained from areas of lung tissue to assess EVLW. Airway luminal areas and wall thicknesses were also measured. CT tissue density suggested increased EVLW in HF without differences in the ratio of airway wall thickness to luminal area or luminal area to TLC (skew: 2.85 ± 1.08 vs. 2.11 ± 0.79, P < 0.01; Kurtosis: 15.5 ± 9.5 vs. 9.3 ± 5.5 P < 0.01; control vs. HF). PFTs were decreased in HF at baseline (% predicted FVC:101 ± 15% vs. 83 ± 18%, P < 0.01;FEV1:103 ± 15% vs. 82 ± 19%, P < 0.01;FEF25–75: 118 ± 36% vs. 86 ± 36%, P < 0.01; control vs. HF). Airway luminal areas, but not CT measures, were correlated with PFTs at baseline. The SABA cleared EVLW and decreased airway wall thickness but did not change luminal area. Patients with HF had evidence of increased EVLW, but not an expanded bronchial circulation. Airway caliber was maintained relative to controls, despite reductions in lung volume and flow rates. SABA improved lung function, primarily by reducing EVLW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12867
JournalPhysiological reports
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Airway walls
  • CT
  • airways
  • congestion
  • edema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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