Virtual Biopsies in Barrett's Esophagus Using an Impedance Probe

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Preliminary results of electrical impedance measurements in squamous and columnar epithelia in rat and human tissues are presented. The aim of this work is to show the possibility of differentiating these two types of epithelia in terms of their electrical characteristics. For the measurements, we employed a 1.95m-long, 3.2-mm-diameter, four-electrode probe designed to be used transendoscopically in the diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus (BE). BE is a condition in which the normal squamous epithelium of the esophagus is replaced by columnar epithelium of the intestinal type. This metaplasia is considered as a premalignant condition that puts patients at a 30-125-fold risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. The diagnosis and surveillance of BE involve taking multiple biopsies, an expensive and time-consuming procedure. This study constitutes the first stage in the replacement of tissue biopsy by "virtual biopsies".

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