Up until now, clear evaluation of airway inflammation and remodeling in children
could only be measured by invasive techniques, such as a tissue biopsy of the
airways performed during bronchoscopy.
Through the use of HRCT scans of the chest, researchers have previously found
that children with severe asthma have significantly greater bronchial wall
thickness than normal children. HRCT scans performed on adults were successful
in showing the abnormalities of the airways, in particular the extent of bronchial
wall thickening (BWT) and how it correlates with lung function and other markers
of asthma severity.
Because previous techniques in children had been so invasive,
researcher Jacques de Blie, MD, the Université René Descartes,
Paris, and colleagues began investigating less invasive techniques. The researchers
37 children with severe asthma to determine whether an HRCT scan was as effective
in measuring inflammation and remodeling in the airways as other more established
The study found HRCT scan results had similar results with those obtained
through bronchial biopsy (measuring reticular basement membrane thickness)
and also correlated well with other validated measurements of airway inflammation
(such as those measured with exhaled NO).