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J Biomed Opt. 2013 May;18(5):50501. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.18.5.050501.

In vivo lung microvasculature visualized in three dimensions using fiber-optic color Doppler optical coherence tomography.

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British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Department of Integrative Oncology-Imaging Unit, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1L3, Canada.


For the first time, the use of fiber-optic color Doppler optical coherence tomography (CDOCT) to map in vivo the three-dimensional (3-D) vascular network of airway segments in human lungs is demonstrated. Visualizing the 3-D vascular network in the lungs may provide new opportunities for detecting and monitoring lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. Our CDOCT instrument employs a rotary fiber-optic probe that provides simultaneous two-dimensional (2-D) real-time structural optical coherence tomography (OCT) and CDOCT imaging at frame rates up to 12.5 frames per second. Controlled pullback of the probe allows 3-D vascular mapping in airway segments up to 50 mm in length in a single acquisition. We demonstrate the ability of CDOCT to map both small and large vessels. In one example, CDOCT imaging allows assignment of a feature in the structural OCT image as a large (∼1  mm diameter) blood vessel. In a second example, a smaller vessel (∼80  μm diameter) that is indistinguishable in the structural OCT image is fully visualized in 3-D using CDOCT.

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