Background: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a cross-sectional, high-resolution imaging modality that has been shown to accurately differentiate esophageal specialized intestinal metaplasia (SIM) from gastric cardia at the squamocolumnar junction (SCJ) and diagnose high-grade dysplasia and intramucosal carcinoma in patients with SIM. The clinical utility of OCT has been limited, however, by its inability to acquire images over large areas.
Objective: The aim of this study was to use recently developed high-speed OCT technology, termed optical frequency domain imaging (OFDI), and a new balloon-centering catheter (2.5 cm diameter) to demonstrate the feasibility of large area, comprehensive optical microscopy of the entire distal esophagus (approximately 6.0 cm) in patients.
Design: A pilot feasibility study.
Setting: Massachusetts General Hospital.
Patients: Twelve patients undergoing routine EGD.
Results: Comprehensive microscopy of the distal esophagus was successfully performed in 10 patients with the OFDI system and balloon catheter. There were no complications resulting from the imaging procedure. Volumetric data sets were acquired in less than 2 minutes. OFDI images at the SCJ showed a variety of microscopic features that were consistent with histopathologic findings, including squamous mucosa, cardia, SIM with and without dysplasia, and esophageal erosion.
Limitations: Inability to obtain direct correlation of OFDI data and histopathologic diagnoses.
Conclusions: Comprehensive volumetric microscopy of the human distal esophagus was successfully demonstrated with OFDI and a balloon-centering catheter, providing a wealth of detailed information about the structure of the esophageal wall. This technique will support future studies to compare OFDI image information with histopathologic diagnoses.