Volumetric laser endomicroscopy in Barrett’s esophagus: ready for primetime
Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is the condition where intestinal metaplastic changes are found in the normal stratified squamous epithelium of the esophagus predisposing an individual to dysplasia and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC). It tends to affect males and is often the result of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The current standard of therapy for diagnosing Barrett’s is white light endoscopy (WLE) with biopsies obtained using the Seattle protocol. Multiple newer advanced modalities have been developed to improve diagnostic abilities, including volumetric laser endomicroscopy (VLE). This technique utilizes second generation optical coherence tomography (OCT) to provide an enhanced circumferential image to a depth of 3 mm with the potential for improved diagnostic yield for dysplasia, particularly submucosal lesions or lesions not seen by WLE. It has also been evaluated in guiding mapping of endotherapy as well as post therapy surveillance for recurrence. Although the results have been promising when used with current diagnostic standards, overall data are limited to support the routine use of VLE.