Diagnosis of subglottic stenosis in a rabbit model using long-range optical coherence tomography.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Laryngoscope (2016)


OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Current imaging modalities lack the necessary resolution to diagnose subglottic stenosis. The aim of this study was to use optical coherence tomography (OCT) to evaluate nascent subglottic mucosal injury and characterize mucosal thickness and structural changes using texture analysis in a simulated intubation rabbit model.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective animal study in rabbits.

METHODS: Three-centimeter-long sections of endotracheal tubes (ETT) were endoscopically placed in the subglottis and proximal trachea of New Zealand White rabbits (n = 10) and secured via suture. OCT imaging and conventional endoscopic video was performed just prior to ETT segment placement (day 0), immediately after tube removal (day 7), and 1 week later (day 14). OCT images were analyzed for airway wall thickness and textural properties.

RESULTS: Endoscopy and histology of intubated rabbits showed a range of normal to edematous tissue, which correlated with OCT images. The mean airway mucosal wall thickness measured using OCT was 336.4 μm (day 0), 391.3 μm (day 7), and 420.4 μm (day 14), with significant differences between day 0 and day 14 (P = .002). Significance was found for correlation and homogeneity texture features across all time points (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: OCT is a minimally invasive endoscopic imaging modality capable of monitoring progression of subglottic mucosal injury. This study is the first to evaluate mucosal injury during simulated intubation using serial OCT imaging and texture analysis. OCT and texture analysis have the potential for early detection of subglottic mucosal injury, which could lead to better management of the neonatal airway and limit the progression to stenosis.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: NA Laryngoscope, 2016.