Reference Values for Central Airway Dimensions on CT Images of Children and Adolescents.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2018 Feb;210(2):423-430. doi: 10.2214/AJR.17.18597. Epub 2017 Dec 20. Kuo W1,2, Ciet P1,2, Andrinopoulou ER3, Chen Y4, Pullens B5, Garcia-Peña P6, Fleck RJ7, Paoletti M8, McCartin M9, Vermeulen F10, Morana G11, Lee EY9, Tiddens HAWM1,2; Normal Chest CT Study Group.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to acquire normative data on central airway dimensions on chest CT scans in the pediatric population.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Chest CT findings reported as normal by a radiologist were collected retrospectively at 10 international centers. An experienced and independent thoracic radiologist reevaluated all CT scans for image quality and for normal findings. Semiautomated image analysis was performed to measure dimensions of the trachea and right and left main bronchi at inspiration. Intrathoracic tracheal length was measured from carina to thorax inlet. Cross-sectional area and short and long axes were measured perpendicular to the longitudinal airway axis starting from the carina every centimeter upward for the trachea and every 0.5 cm downward for the main bronchi. The effects on airway diameters of age, sex, intrathoracic tracheal length, and distance from the carina were investigated by use of mixed-effects models analysis.
RESULTS: Among 1160 CT scans collected, 388 were evaluated as normal by the independent radiologist with sufficient image quality and adequate inspiratory volume level. Central airways were successfully semiautomatically analyzed in 294 of 388 CT studies. Age, sex, intrathoracic tracheal length, and distance from carina were all significant predictors in the models for tracheal and right and left main bronchial diameters (p < 0.001). The central airway dimensions increased with age up to 20 years, and dimensions were larger in male than in female adolescents.
CONCLUSION: Normative data were determined for the central airways of children and adolescents. Central airway dimensions depended on distance from the carina and on intrathoracic tracheal length.