Recent Advances in Optical Coherence Tomography for the Diagnoses of Lung Disorders

Randy Hou; Tho Le; Septimiu D Murgu; Zhongping Chen; Matt Brenner


Expert Rev Resp Med. 2011;5(5):711-724. 

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Expert commentary

Tremendous strides have been made in OCT in recent years and this technology continues to evolve rapidly. However, at this time, OCT remains primarily a research tool in pulmonary medicine due primarily to limitations in depth of penetration and inherent tissue subcellular contrast that would be necessary for definitively distinguishing benign from malignant pathology (Figure 4). In the relatively near term, the high-resolution, nonradiating, minimally invasive, noncontact properties of OCT provide potential for future advances that will increase clinical utility for airway/pulmonary OCT imaging. OCT may become very useful for precise quantitative determination of change in surface and sub-surface characteristics for following regression of disease processes and response to interventions. aOCT may become a valuable tool assessment of OSA and upper airway obstruction, as well as lower airway dynamics.

Figure 4.

Optical coherence tomography imaging of malignant and benign airway processes. White light bronchoscopy and the corresponding optical computed tomography tomograms from a patient with necrotizing tracheatis and severe mucosal inflammation (top panel) and from a patient with squamous cell carcinoma and complete left main bronchial obstruction. Both white light bronchoscopy images show the optical computed tomography probe overlying the abnormality. Note the similarity between the two optical computed tomography tomograms showing a blend image and lack of normal layered airway wall microstructures.


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