Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) is a poorly understood condition of the small intestine prevalent in low and middle income countries. This disease is believed to cause nutrient malabsorption and poor oral vaccine uptake, resulting in arrested neurological development and growth stunting in children that persists as they grow into adulthood. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging of the small intestine can potentially capture some of the microstructural changes, such as villous blunting, in the small gut that accompany EED, and hence could potentially improve the understanding of EED and help in determining and monitoring the effectiveness of EED interventions. Notably, EED must be studied and diagnosed in infants, aged 0-24 months as this is the only window in which interventional strategies can reverse the disease. In order to address this need, we propose a trans-nasal OCT imaging technique for imaging the small intestine that may be suitable for low-resource settings owing to its simplicity, ease of administration, and implementation in unsedated infants. To demonstrate the potential of transnasal OCT intestinal imaging, we have created a 10 Fr transnasal OCT imaging probe and have submitted an IRB application for a first-in-human study using this probe to image the adult small intestine. We anticipate that the results from this pilot study will justify the development of a transnasal OCT intestinal imaging device for infants.
Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) is a poorly understood disease of the small intestine that causes nutrient malabsorption in children, predominantly from low and middle income countries. The clinical importance of EED is neurological and growth stunting that remains as the child grows into adulthood. Tethered capsule endomicroscopy (TCE) has the potential to improve the understanding of EED and could be used to determine the effectiveness of EED interventions. TCE in the adult esophagus and the duodenum has been demonstrated for Barrett`s esophagus and celiac disease diagnosis, respectively. While adult subjects can independently swallow these capsules, it is likely that infants will not, and, as a result, new strategies for introducing these devices in young children aged 0.5-2 years need to be investigated. Our first approach will be to introduce the TCE devices in infants under the aid of endoscopic guidance. To determine the most effective method, we have tested endoscopic approaches for introducing TCE devices into the small intestine of living swine. These methods will be compared and contrasted to discuss the most effective means for endoscopic tethered capsule introduction into the small intestine.