Primary lymphedema and lymphatic malformations in the pediatric population remains poorly diagnosed and misunderstood due to a lack of information on the underlying anatomy and function of the lymphatic system. Diagnostics for the lymphatic vasculature are limited, consisting of lymphoscintigraphy or invasive lymphangiography, both of which require sedation that can restrict use in infants and children. As a result, therapeutic protocols for pediatric patients with lymphatic disorders remain sparse and with little evidence to support them. Because near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging enables image acquisition on the order of tenths of seconds with trace administration of fluorescent dye, sedation is not necessary. The lack of harmful radiation and radioactive contrast agents further facilitates imaging. Herein we summarize our experiences in imaging infants and children who are suspected to have disorders of the lymphatic vascular system using indocyanine green (ICG) and who have developed chylothorax following surgery for congenital heart defects. The results show both anatomical as well as functional lymphatic deficits in children with congenital disease. In the future, NIRF lymphatic imaging could provide new opportunities to tailor effective therapies and monitor responses. The opportunity to use expand NIRF imaging for pediatric diagnostics beyond the lymphatic vasculature is also afforded by the rapid acquisition following trace administration of NIRF contrast agent.
John C. Rasmussen, Duraisamy Balaguru, William I. Douglas, John P. Breinholt, Matthew R. Greives, Melissa B. Aldrich, and Eva M. Sevick-Muraca, "Lymphatic imaging in unsedated infants and children," Proc. SPIE 10054, Advanced Biomedical and Clinical Diagnostic and Surgical Guidance Systems XV, 100540U (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 14 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256753.
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