Endoscopy 2021; 53(12): 1284-1286
DOI: 10.1055/a-1346-7455
E-Videos

Artificial intelligence identifies and quantifies colonoscopy blind spots

1  Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
,
Julian Rosenman
2  Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
3  Department of Computer Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
,
Rui Wang
3  Department of Computer Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
,
Ruibin Ma
3  Department of Computer Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
,
Jan-Michael Frahm
2  Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
,
Stephen Pizer
3  Department of Computer Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
› Author Affiliations
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina UNC Lineberger Grant for Clinical/Translational research
 

Some mucosal surfaces on folds and within haustra may not be visualized at all during colonoscopy, and thus precancerous lesions are missed. We describe here preliminary results of an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that identifies and quantifies these “blind spots,” with the aim, potentially, that endoscopists may be directed to them in real time.

Anonymized colonoscopy videos were acquired from a single endoscopist with a high (47 %) adenoma detection rate (ADR), using Olympus CF and PCF devices (Olympus USA, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, USA) and high definition recording (Epiphan, Palo Alto, California, USA). The main AI modalities applied were a recurrent neural network (an AI type particularly suitable for sequential data), that had been trained to compute depth [1] [2] combined with visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) [3].

The AI software was applied to 76 colonoscopy video sequences from 18 patients, showing colon segments of 4–25 cm in length. This created three-dimensional (3 D) reconstructions of the colon segments and then identified blind spots, showing as holes or gaps in the reconstructions, and quantified these nonvisualized areas. The study endoscopist reviewed the reconstructions and validated that the blind spots had not been seen in the colonoscopy video. The last 12 3 D reconstructions were done in real time with the video sequence; these were 2–6 seconds in duration, corresponding to colon lengths of 7–25 cm (median 10 cm).

[Video 1] shows a colonoscopy video alongside the real-time reconstruction highlighting a blind spot. [Fig. 1] is an example of a reconstructed segment of colon with no blind spot, while [Fig. 2] shows a sequence of video images where the left wall of the colon was not visualized because of the camera angle, and the reconstructions with corresponding gaps.

Video 1 Artificial-intelligence identification and quantification of colonoscopy blind spots. The video shows the colonoscopy video (left) and real-time reconstruction (center and right) which highlights the blind spot in the colon wall.


Quality:
Zoom Image
Fig. 1 AI-reconstructed segment of the colon with no blind spot.
Zoom Image
Fig. 2 The blind spot of left colon wall missed at colonoscopy is seen as a gap in this reconstruction.

Our system calculated that among the 76 reconstructed segments, the blind spots ranged from 1 % to 50 % of the total surface area (interquartile range 8.7 %–27 %), with a median 19 % of surface area being missed despite the high ADR of the operator. [Fig. 3] shows the distribution of the differing missed area percentages among the 76 reconstructed colonic segments.

Zoom Image
Fig. 3 Histogram of frequency of percentage missing area among 76 segments of colonoscopy video.

Endoscopy_UCTN_Code_TTT_1AQ_2AB

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Competing interests

All authors are patent holders. Sarah K. McGill and Julian Rosenman have received research funding from Olympus.


Corresponding author

Sarah K. McGill, MD, MSc
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine
130 Mason Farm Rd Office Campus Box 7080
Chapel Hill
North Carolina 27599
USA   
Fax: +1-919-966-8929   

Publication History

Publication Date:
04 February 2021 (online)

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany


Zoom Image
Fig. 1 AI-reconstructed segment of the colon with no blind spot.
Zoom Image
Fig. 2 The blind spot of left colon wall missed at colonoscopy is seen as a gap in this reconstruction.
Zoom Image
Fig. 3 Histogram of frequency of percentage missing area among 76 segments of colonoscopy video.