Published online Jul 16, 2013. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v5.i7.313
Revised: May 7, 2013
Accepted: June 19, 2013
Published online: July 16, 2013
AIM: To investigate the presence of small intestinal villous atrophy in celiac disease patients from quantitative analysis of videocapsule image sequences.
METHODS: Nine celiac patient data with biopsy-proven villous atrophy and seven control patient data lacking villous atrophy were used for analysis. Celiacs had biopsy-proven disease with scores of Marsh II-IIIC except in the case of one hemophiliac patient. At four small intestinal levels (duodenal bulb, distal duodenum, jejunum, and ileum), video clips of length 200 frames (100 s) were analyzed. Twenty-four measurements were used for image characterization. These measurements were determined by quantitatively processing the videocapsule images via techniques for texture analysis, motility estimation, volumetric reconstruction using shape-from-shading principles, and image transformation. Each automated measurement method, or automaton, was polled as to whether or not villous atrophy was present in the small intestine, indicating celiac disease. Each automaton’s vote was determined based upon an optimized parameter threshold level, with the threshold levels being determined from prior data. A prediction of villous atrophy was made if it received the majority of votes (≥ 13), while no prediction was made for tie votes (12-12). Thus each set of images was classified as being from either a celiac disease patient or from a control patient.
RESULTS: Separated by intestinal level, the overall sensitivity of automata polling for predicting villous atrophy and hence celiac disease was 83.9%, while the specificity was 92.9%, and the overall accuracy of automata-based polling was 88.1%. The method of image transformation yielded the highest sensitivity at 93.8%, while the method of texture analysis using subbands had the highest specificity at 76.0%. Similar results of prediction were observed at all four small intestinal locations, but there were more tie votes at location 4 (ileum). Incorrect prediction which reduced sensitivity occurred for two celiac patients with Marsh type II pattern, which is characterized by crypt hyperplasia, but normal villous architecture. Pooled from all levels, there was a mean of 14.31 ± 3.28 automaton votes for celiac vs 9.67 ± 3.31 automaton votes for control when celiac patient data was analyzed (P < 0.001). Pooled from all levels, there was a mean of 9.71 ± 2.8128 automaton votes for celiac vs 14.32 ± 2.7931 automaton votes for control when control patient data was analyzed (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Automata-based polling may be useful to indicate presence of mucosal atrophy, indicative of celiac disease, across the entire small bowel, though this must be confirmed in a larger patient set. Since the method is quantitative and automated, it can potentially eliminate observer bias and enable the detection of subtle abnormality in patients lacking a clear diagnosis. Our paradigm was found to be more efficacious at proximal small intestinal locations, which may suggest a greater presence and severity of villous atrophy at proximal as compared with distal locations.
Core tip: Videocapsule endoscopy images from celiac disease patients and controls were extracted from video clips and compared using image processing. The image processor consists of 24 automated measurements, or automata. The values of these automata were polled for yes or no vote, which depended on a predetermined threshold value set for each measurement. The polling process predicted whether the patient had celiac disease, based on majority vote from the 24 automata. Celiac patients with even subtle villous atrophy were distinguished from controls by this method. For 16 patients, the overall sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the method was 83.9%, 92.9%, and 88.1%, respectively.