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Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR) is a developmental intestinal obstruction, which is often diagnosed with a repeated biopsy. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive, real-time imaging modality. This study aims to investigate the feasibility of diagnosis of HSCR, the targeted biopsies of suspicious tissues and the location of operative treatment using OCT. An HSCR Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat model (benzalkonium chloride-treated (BAC-treated)) was used. Colon tissues with BAC-treated and without BAC-treated were imaged using OCT. To establish OCT criteria for identification of HSCR, OCT images were compared with corresponding histology images and muscle layer thickness was measured. Furthermore, attenuation coefficients of OCT signals were calculated to illustrate the differences between tissues with BAC-treated and without BAC-treated. Our results show that OCT images of colon tissues with HSCR are well correlated with histology images. In comparison with a muscle layer without HSCR, the thickness of muscle layer with HSCR is increased significantly. The muscle layer in colon tissues with HSCR for 6 weeks had a higher attenuation coefficient than those without HSCR. However, the attenuation coefficient of those with HSCR for 3 weeks had no obvious change. In conclusion, the study demonstrates for the first time that OCT has the potential for diagnosis, biopsy and location of HSCR in vivo.


H L Xiong, Z Y Guo, S X Li, N Li, S H Liu, Y H Ji. In vivo detection of Hirschsprung's disease by optical coherence tomography in rats. Physics in medicine and biology. 2013 Mar 7;58(5):1549-61

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PMID: 23417024

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