Objective: To review the recent advances in available technologies for imaging COPD and present the novel optical coherence tomography (OCT) airway imaging technology. Materials and Methods: This is an unstructured review of published evidence of available pulmonary imaging technologies along with a demonstration of state-of-the-art OCT imaging technology of in vivo human and animal airways. Results: Advanced imaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging using hyperoloarized noble gases, micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT), and OCT aim to further our understanding of COPD. Lung densitometry can aid in identifying an exacerbation prone phenotype which may have implications for targeting specific therapies to these individuals. MR ventilation scans have the ability to provide a functional and regional distribution of airflow obstruction offering insight into the airway and parenchymal changes induced by COPD. Micro-CT gives a near microscopic view of the terminal bronchioles and alveoli permitting study of the microarchitecture of the lung ex vivo. Optical coherence tomography can visualize the microstructure of the airway walls (epithelium, smooth muscle, blood vessels, cartilage) permitting real time in vivo as well as longitudinal evaluation of airway changes in patients with COPD. Conclusion: Advanced imaging techniques play a vital role in expanding our current understanding of COPD.
- Optical coherence tomography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging