A team from Massachusetts and California, USA, assessed the use and feasibility of optical coherence tomography (OCT) for real-time screening and diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus.
In the trial, OCT imaging was performed as an adjunct to endoscopic imaging of the human esophagus. Real-time OCT (13µm resolution) was used to perform image-guided evaluation of normal esophagus and Barrett's esophagus.
Different catheter-probe imaging designs, which performed linear and radial scanning, were assessed. Novel ultra-high-resolution and spectroscopic OCT techniques were also used to image in vitro specimens of Barrett's esophagus.
Ultra-high-resolution and spectroscopic OCT techniques improve structural tissue recognition
The team found that endoscopic OCT images revealed distinct layers of normal human esophagus, extending from the epithelium to the muscularis propria.
In contrast, the presence of gland- and crypt-like morphologies and the absence of layered structures were observed in Barrett's esophagus.
All OCT images showed strong correlation with architectural morphology in histological findings. Ultra-high-resolution OCT techniques achieved 1.1µm image resolution, and showed enhanced resolution of architectural features. Spectroscopic OCT identified localized regions of wavelength-dependent optical scattering, enhancing the differentiation of Barrett's esophagus.
Researcher S.A. Boppart, on behalf of the group, said, "OCT technology with compact fiberoptic imaging probes can be used as an adjunct to endoscopy, for real-time image-guided evaluation of Barrett's esophagus.
"Linear and radial scan patterns have different advantages and limitations, depending upon the application. Ultra-high-resolution and spectroscopic OCT techniques improve structural tissue recognition, and suggest future potential for resolution and contrast enhancements in clinical studies."