Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, fatal form of fibrotic lung disease, with a significantly worse prognosis than other forms of pulmonary fibrosis (3-year survival rate of 50%). Distinguishing IPF from other fibrotic diseases is essential to patient care because it stratifies prognosis and therapeutic decision-making. However, making the diagnosis often requires invasive, high-risk surgical procedures to look for microscopic features not seen on chest CT, such as characteristic cystic honeycombing in the peripheral lung. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides rapid 3D visualization of large tissue volumes with microscopic resolutions well beyond the capabilities of CT. We aim to determine whether bronchoscopic OCT can provide a low-risk, non-surgical method for IPF diagnosis. We have developed bronchoscopic OCT catheters that access the peripheral lung and conducted in vivo peripheral lung imaging in patients, including those with pulmonary fibrosis. We also conducted bronchoscopic OCT in ex vivo lung from pulmonary fibrosis patients, including IPF, to determine if OCT could successfully visualize features of IPF through the peripheral airways. Our results demonstrate that OCT is able to visualize characteristic features of IPF through the airway, including microscopic honeycombing (< 1 mm diameter) not visible by CT, dense peripheral fibrosis, and spatial disease heterogeneity. We also found that OCT has potential to distinguish mimickers of IPF honeycombing, such as traction bronchiectasis and emphysema, from true honeycombing. These findings support the potential of bronchoscopic OCT as a minimally-invasive method for in vivo IPF diagnosis. However, future clinical studies are needed to validate these findings.
Lida P. Hariri, David C. Adams, Thomas V Colby, Andrew M. Tager, and Melissa J. Suter, "Assessing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) with bronchoscopic OCT (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9691, Endoscopic Microscopy XI; and Optical Techniques in Pulmonary Medicine III, 96911B (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 27 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2214663.4828146972001.
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