Background and aims: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging technique that produces high-resolution cross-sectional images in vivo. The aim of this study was to establish the sensitivity and specificity of OCT for diagnosing specialized intestinal metaplasia (SIM).
Methods: OCT was used to image the stomach and esophagus of 121 patients. A total of 288 biopsy-correlated OCT images were acquired. OCT criteria for SIM were formulated by analyzing 75 images of SIM. The SIM image criteria were retrospectively tested by applying them to images of gastric, squamous, SIM, and cardiac epithelium. The criteria were then tested prospectively to determine the sensitivity and specificity of OCT for diagnosing SIM.
Results: OCT images of SIM are characterized by (1) absence of the layered structure of normal squamous epithelium and the vertical "pit and crypt" morphology of gastric mucosa, (2) disorganized architecture with inhomogeneous tissue contrast and an irregular mucosal surface, and (3) presence of submucosal glands. These criteria were 100% sensitive and 93% specific for SIM when applied retrospectively and 97% sensitive and 92% specific when tested prospectively.
Conclusions: OCT is highly sensitive and specific for SIM and may aid in the diagnosis and surveillance of this preneoplastic lesion.