Purpose To assess the feasibility and safety of imaging canine peripheral airways (<1 mm) with an experimental micro-imaging fiber optic bronchoscope. Methods Twenty healthy dogs were scoped with a micro-imaging fiber optic bronchoscope (0.8 mm outer diameter). Images at various levels of the bronchioles, mucosal color, and tracheal secretions were recorded. The apparatus was stopped once it was difficult to insert. CT imaging was performed simultaneously to monitor progression. The safety of the device was evaluated by monitoring heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), mean artery pressure (MAP), peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) and arterial blood gases (partial pressure of arterial carbon-dioxide, PaCO2, partial pressure of arterial oxygen, PaO2, and blood pH). Results (1) According to the CT scan, the micro-imaging fiber was able to access the peripheral airways (<1 mm) in canines. (2) There was no significant change in the values of HR, MAP, pH and PaCO2 during the procedure (P>0.05). Comparing pre-manipulation and post-manipulation values, SpO2 (F = 13.06, P<0.05) and PaO2 (F = 3.01, P = 0.01) were decreased, whereas RR (F = 3.85, P<0.05) was elevated during the manipulation. (3) Self-limited bleeding was observed in one dog; severe bleeding or other complications did not occur. Conclusion Although the new apparatus had little effect on SpO2, PaO2 and RR, it can probe into small peripheral airways (<1 mm), which may provide a new platform for the early diagnosis of bronchiolar diseases.
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