Volumetric laser endomicroscopy (VLE) is an advanced endoscopic imaging tool that can improve dysplasia detection in Barrett’s esophagus (BE). However, VLE scans generate 1200 cross-sectional images that can make interpretation difficult. The impact of a new VLE artificial intelligence algorithm called Intelligent Real-time Image Segmentation (IRIS) is not well-characterized. This is a randomized prospective cross-over study of BE patients undergoing endoscopy who were randomized to IRIS-enhanced or unenhanced VLE first followed by the other (IRIS-VLE vs. VLE-IRIS, respectively) at expert BE centers. The primary outcome was image interpretation time, which served as a surrogate measure for ease of interpretation. The secondary outcome was diagnostic yield of dysplasia for each imaging modality. 133 patients were enrolled. 67 patients were randomized to VLE-IRIS and 66 to IRIS-VLE. Total interpretation time did not differ significantly between groups (7.8 min VLE-IRIS vs. 7 min IRIS-VLE, P = 0.1), however unenhanced VLE interpretation time was significantly shorter in the IRIS-VLE group (2.4 min vs. 3.8 min, P < 0.01). When IRIS was used first, 100% of dysplastic areas were identified, compared with 76.9% when VLE was the first interpretation modality (P = 0.06). IRIS-enhanced VLE reduced the time of subsequent unenhanced VLE interpretation, suggesting heightened efficiency and improved dysplasia detection. It was also able to identify all endoscopically non-visible dysplastic areas.
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