Diagnosis of inhalation injury has been clinically challenging. Currently, assessment of inhalation injury relies on subjective clinical exams and bronchoscopy, which provides little understanding of tissue conditions and results in limited prognostics. Endoscopic Optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology has been recently utilized in the airway for direct assessment of respiratory tract disorders and injuries. Endoscopic OCT is capable of capturing high-resolution images of tissue morphology 1-3 mm beneath the surface as well as the complex 3D anatomical shape. Previous studies indicate that changes in airway histopathology can be found in the OCT image almost immediately after inhalation of smoke and other toxic chemicals, which correlates well with histology and pulmonary function tests. This review summarizes the recent development of endoscopic OCT technology for airway imaging, current uses of OCT for inhalation injury, and possible future directions.
Keywords: Airway monitoring; Airway obstruction; Endoscopic optical coherence tomography; Inhalation injury.