We describe a long-range optical coherence tomography system for size and shape measurement of large hollow organs in the human body. The system employs a frequency-domain optical delay line of a configuration that enables the combination of high-speed operation with long scan range. We compare the achievable maximum delay of several delay line configurations, and identify the configurations with the greatest delay range. We demonstrate the use of one such long-range delay line in a catheter-based optical coherence tomography system and present profiles of the human upper airway and esophagus in vivo with a radial scan range of 26 millimeters. Such quantitative upper airway profiling should prove valuable in investigating the pathophysiology of airway collapse during sleep (obstructive sleep apnea). (C) 2003 Optical Society of America.