Anatomical studies suggest that normal lungs grow by rapid alveolar addition until about 2 yrs of age followed by a gradual increase in alveolar dimensions. The aim of this study was to examine the hypothesis that normal lung growth can be monitored by computed tomography (CT). Therefore, the gas volume per gram of lung tissue was estimated from measurements of lung density obtained from CT scans performed on children throughout the growth period. CT scans were performed on 17 males and 18 females, ranging in age from 15 days-17.6 yrs. CT-measured lung weight was correlated with predicted post mortem values and CT measured gas volume with predicted values of functional residual capacity. The median value for lung expansion was 1.86 mL·g-1 at 15 days, decreased to 0.79 mL·g-1 by 2 yrs and then increased steadily to 5.07 mL·g-1 at 17 yrs. Computed tomography scans can be used to estimate lung weight, gas volume and expansion of normal lungs during the growth period. The increase in the lung expansion after the age of 2 yrs suggests progressive alveolar expansion with increasing lung volume.

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The European Respiratory Journal
Department of Pediatrics

de Jong, P., Nakano, Y., Lequin, M., Merkus, P., Tiddens, H., Hogg, J., & Coxson, H. (2003). Estimation of lung growth using computed tomography. The European Respiratory Journal, 22(2), 235–238. doi:10.1183/09031936.03.00089702