Supplementary Material for: A Design-Based Stereologic Method to Quantify the Tissue Changes Associated with a Novel Drug-Eluting Tracheobronchial Stent

Background: Granulation tissue is a common complication of airway stenting, but no published methods can quantify the volume and type of tissue that develops. Objective: To use design-based stereology to quantify changes in tissue volume and type associated with airway stenting. Methods: We compared drug-eluting stents (DES) filled with gendine to standard silicone stents in pigs in an assessor-blinded randomized trial. Tracheal stents were placed via rigid bronchoscopy. After 1 month, animals were euthanized and necropsies were performed. Antimicrobial effects of the DES were assessed in trachea tissue samples, on the DES surface, and with residual gel from the DES reservoir. Tracheal thickness was measured using orthogonal intercepts. Design-based stereology was used to quantify the volume density of tissues using a point-counting method. The volume of each tissue was normalized to cartilage volume, which is unaffected by stenting. Results: Pigs were randomized to DES (n = 36) or control stents (n = 9). The drug was successfully eluted from the DES, and the stent surface showed antibacterial activity. DES and controls did not differ in tissue microbiology, tracheal thickness, or granulation tissue volume. Compared to nonstented controls, stented airways demonstrated a 110% increase in soft-tissue volume (p = 0.005). Submucosal connective tissue (118%; p < 0.0001), epithelium (70%; p < 0.0001), submucosal glands (47%; p = 0.001), and smooth muscle (41%; p < 0.0001) increased in volume. Conclusion: Stenting doubles the volume of soft tissue in the trachea. Design-based stereology can quantify the tissue changes associated with airway stenting.