BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Detecting subtle Barrett's neoplasia during surveillance endoscopy can be challenging. Blue-light imaging (BLI) is a novel advanced endoscopic technology with high-intensity contrast imaging that may improve the identification of Barrett's neoplasia. The aim of this study was to develop and validate the first classification to enable characterization of neoplastic and non-neoplastic Barrett's esophagus using BLI.
METHODS: In phase 1, descriptors pertaining to neoplastic and non-neoplastic Barrett's esophagus were identified to form the classification, named the Blue Light Imaging for Barrett's Neoplasia Classification (BLINC). Phase 2 involved validation of these component criteria by 10 expert endoscopists assessing 50 BLI images. In phase 3, a web-based training module was developed to enable 15 general (nonexpert) endoscopists to use BLINC. They then validated the classification with an image assessment exercise in phase 4, and their pre- and post-training results were compared.
RESULTS: In phase 1 the descriptors were grouped into color, pit, and vessel pattern categories to form the classification. In phase 2 the sensitivity of neoplasia identification was 96.0% with a very good level of agreement among the experts (κ = .83). In phase 3, 15 general endoscopists completed the training module. In phase 4 their pretraining sensitivity (85.3%) improved significantly to 95.7% post-training with a good level of agreement (κ = .67).
CONCLUSIONS: We developed and validated a new classification system (BLINC) for the optical diagnosis of Barrett's neoplasia using BLI. Despite the limitations of this image-based study with a high prevalence of neoplasia, we believe it has the potential to improve the optical diagnosis of Barrett's neoplasia given the high degree of sensitivity (96%) noted. It is also a promising tool for training in Barrett's esophagus optical diagnosis using BLI.