Helical computed tomography scanning of the larynx and upper trachea in rabbits

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© 2015 Ajlan et al. Background: Computed tomography (CT) is used to evaluate the human tracheobronchial tree because of its unsurpassed ability to visualize the airway and surrounding structures. To establish an ideal animal model for studying subglottic stenosis, we assessed the size and morphology of the normal rabbit's laryngotracheal airway by helical CT. We measured luminal dimensions at the levels of the arytenoid and cricoid cartilages and the first, third, and eighth tracheal rings. At all levels, the axial slices were used to calculate the maximum anteroposterior (AP) dimension, transverse dimension, and cross-sectional areas. We measured the tracheal length from the cricoid to the third and eighth tracheal rings on sagittal reformation. We assessed the hyoid, thyroid, cricoid, arytenoid, and tracheal rings for the presence of calcific or soft tissue densities. We also addressed the presence or absence of pre-epiglottic and paraglottic fat. Results: The mean AP tracheal dimension±standard deviation (SD) was 8.6±0.5mm at the arytenoid level, 8.2±0.7mm at the cricoid level, and 7.7±0.2mm at the first tracheal ring level. The transverse tracheal dimension±SD was 5.3±0.1mm at the arytenoid level, 5.5±0.5mm at the cricoid level, and 6.1±0.6mm at the first tracheal ring level. The mean tracheal area±SD was 35.7±2.2mm < sup > 2 < /sup > at the arytenoid level, 35.8±5.1mm < sup > 2 < /sup > at the cricoid level, and 39.2±4.3mm < sup > 2 < /sup > at the first tracheal ring level. The tracheal length±SD was 10.7±2.3mm from the cricoid to the third tracheal ring and 19.1±1.14mm to the eighth tracheal ring. There was complete calcification of the hyoid in all rabbits. Only two rabbits showed complete thyroid, arytenoid, or tracheal ring calcification. The remaining airway components were otherwise either uncalcified or partially calcified. The uvula, epiglottis, aryepiglottic fold, vallecula, piriform sinus, true/false vocal cords, and pre-epiglottic/paraglottic fat were not seen in any rabbit. Conclusions: Helical CT investigation provides good, highly definitive anatomic details of the larynx and trachea in rabbits. Such results may be used in further evaluation of the normal airway and in cases of subglottic stenosis.




Ajlan, A. M., Al-Khatib, T., Al-Sheikah, M., Jastaniah, S., Salih, A., Althubaiti, A., … Karrouf, G. (2015). Helical computed tomography scanning of the larynx and upper trachea in rabbits. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 57(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13028-015-0157-4

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