New research published in the journal Thorax shows that structural airway remodeling features are linked with the occurrence of chronic bronchitis (CB).

Recognizing that CB is strongly linked to cigarette smoking but that not all smokers develop CB, the investigators sought to evaluate whether measures of structural airway disease on computed tomography (CT) scans are differentially linked to CB.

Adults enrolled in the large multicenter Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) cohort study were included in the current analysis of this topic. The study defined CB using the classic definition—that is, the presence of cough and phlegm for ≥3 months per year for ≥2 consecutive years.

Additionally, CB was defined using the responses to the chronic cough-related questions on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). The SGRQ-based definition classifies more individuals as having CB than does the classic definition, with comparable associations with airway disease and symptoms, but recognizes more individuals at risk for future exacerbations than does the classic definition.

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