M. Jungheim
S. Donner
S. Bleeker
T. Ripken
A. Krüger
M. Ptok

Effect of saline inhalation on vocal fold epithelial morphology evaluated by optical coherence tomography

The Laryngoscope
Type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz (reviewed)
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Examination of tissue structures by optical coherence tomography (OCT) has been shown to be useful on mucous membranes of the vocal folds, but so far its application to the human larynx has been limited because it is technically cumbersome and usually needs to be performed with sedation. Here a newly developed, noninvasive combined laryngoscopy and OCT procedure is described and its suitability for ambulatory OCT studies evaluated. Because inhalation therapies utilizing saline solutions are commonly used as a treatment option for disorders of the airways, and vocal fold epithelium is most likely to be affected due to its superficial positioning, epithelial thickness was chosen as a relevant test parameter and evaluated before and after saline inhalation. METHODS: Seven vocally healthy participants performed a 10-minute inhalation of saline solution and underwent a combined laryngoscopy and OCT before and after the inhalation therapy. Endoscopy was performed using a newly developed combined laryngoscopy and OCT device. The OCT images were used to estimate the epithelial thickness of the vocal folds. RESULTS: Epithelial thickness measured in all participants before treatment was comparable in size reported in previous studies. Statistical differences before and after inhalation were not detected. CONCLUSION: The newly developed combined laryngoscopy and OCT procedure enables rapid investigation of the vocal fold epithelium. Inhalation of saline solution did not appear to affect the thickness of the epithelium of the vocal folds in vocally healthy subjects, as evaluated by OCT.