Whole slide images for primary diagnostics of gastrointestinal tract pathology: a feasibility study

Hum Pathol. 2012 May;43(5):702-7. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2011.06.017. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


During the last decade, whole slide images have been used in many areas of pathology such as teaching, research, digital archiving, teleconsultation, and quality assurance testing. However, whole slide images have as yet not much been used for up-front diagnostics because of the lack of validation studies. The aim of this study was, therefore, to test the feasibility of whole slide images for diagnosis of gastrointestinal tract specimens, one of the largest areas of diagnostic pathology. One hundred gastrointestinal tract biopsies and resections that had been diagnosed using light microscopy 1 year before were rediagnosed on whole slide images scanned at ×20 magnification by 5 pathologists (all reassessing their own cases), having the original clinical information available but blinded to their original light microscopy diagnoses. The original light microscopy and whole slide image-based diagnoses were compared and classified as concordant, slightly discordant (without clinical consequences), and discordant. The diagnoses based on light microscopy and the whole slide image-based rediagnoses were concordant in 95% of the cases. Light microscopy and whole slide image diagnosis in the remaining 5% of cases were slightly discordant, none of these were with clinical or prognostic implications. Up-front histopathologic diagnosis of gastrointestinal biopsies and resections can be done on whole slide images.

MeSH terms

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Pathology, Clinical / methods*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Telepathology / methods*