Background: Narrow band imaging (NBI) endoscopy is a technique that allows for real-time visualization of mucosal and submucosal vascular patterns.
Objective: Because granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) (Wegener granulomatosis) is an autoimmune disease defined by vascular inflammation, we examined patients with GPA and with NBI to evaluate whether disease-specific mucosal vascular patterns were present. To the best of our knowledge, the use of NBI endoscopy for assessment of an immune system disease such as GPA has never been previously attempted.
Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study by performing an endoscopic evaluation of upper airways with NBI on patients diagnosed with GPA; on patients with symptoms and signs suggestive for GPA, who were scheduled to undergo nasal biopsy to confirm diagnosis; on patients affected by chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps; and on healthy controls.
Results: We enrolled 69 patients. NBI vascular patterns in patients with GPA were consistently and recognizably different from healthy mucosal patterns in 53% of our cases. In patients with GPA, biopsy and NBI results were for the most part comparable, except for three cases.
Conclusion: Nasal mucosa NBI endoscopy can be considered a promising rapid and noninvasive live imaging technique for nasal mucosa GPA that, based on further study, could become a supplementary diagnostic tool in the complex workup of GPA and vasculitis.