Objectives/hypothesis: To develop a reproducible and consistent chronic subglottic stenosis (SGS) in an endoscopic animal model.
Study design: Prospective study.
Methods: We conducted a prospective study using New Zealand white rabbits. Chronic SGS was induced endoscopically by Bugbee electrocautery to 50% to 75% of the subglottic area's circumference, followed by 4-hour endotracheal intubation. The rabbit airways were endoscopically assessed and sized with uncuffed endotracheal tubes (ETTs) before the injury, during follow-up, and at the endpoints. There were four endpoints: 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks post SGS induction. Animals were humanely euthanized for histopathological examination of the subglottic injury site and microscopic measurement of the cricoid lumen.
Results: Twenty-two rabbits reached the endpoints, and 18 rabbits developed chronic SGS. ETT size significantly decreased by 0.5 from preinjury to the endpoint in all groups, P < .001. Control median cricoid lumen measurements were 20.48 mm2 , the median cricoid lumen measurement for the 2 weeks endpoint was 14.3 mm2 , 4 weeks 11.69 mm2 , 6 weeks 16.03 mm2 , and 8 weeks endpoint median was 16.33 mm2 . Histopathological examination showed chronic scar tissue and new cartilage formation at the cricoid level, mainly at the posterior subglottic injury site starting from 4 weeks postinjury. Collagen staining revealed substantial amounts of organized collagen and different collagen orientation starting 4 weeks postinjury lasting until 8 weeks postinjury.
Conclusion: We developed an animal model to study chronic SGS. This model will be utilized to compare different endoscopic treatment interventions in acute SGS versus chronic SGS and further define the molecular basis of SGS.
Level of evidence: NA Laryngoscope, 132:1909-1915, 2022.
Keywords: Subglottic stenosis; animal model; chronic stenosis; mature scar; rabbit.
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