Endoscopy 2001; 33(12): 1018-1021
DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-18934
Short Communication

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

First In Vivo Optical Coherence Tomography in the Human Bile Duct

U. Seitz, J. Freund, S. Jaeckle, F. Feldchtein, S. Bohnacker, F. Thonke, N. Gladkova, B. Brand, S. Schröder, N. Soehendra
  • Dept. of Interdisciplinary Endoscopy, University Hospital Eppendorf, University of Hamburg, Germany
Weitere Informationen


07. Dezember 2001 (online)

Background and Study Aims: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a novel technique for performing high-resolution, cross-sectional tomographic imaging in human tissue, which allows resolution of up to 10 μm. The short depth of penetration allows assessment of the superficial 2 mm of the gastrointestinal tract, an area that is difficult to appraise even with high-frequency ultrasound. This is the first report on in vivo OCT of the human biliary system. The aim was to assess the feasibility of the technique.

Patients and Methods: Four cases of intraductal OCT are presented. The probe was inserted through the working channel of a duodenoscope.

Results: The connective tissue layer and the underlying retroperitoneal tissue, with less backscattering, could be clearly demonstrated. The images showed a layer architecture which was similar to that found histologically.

Conclusions: OCT of the biliary system is feasible in patients with biliary pathology. Interpretable images were obtained, and clinical use needs further assessment. As current OCT probes and processors do not yet provide optimal resolution, further generations of equipment with improved image quality are required.


  • 1 Jäckle S, Gladkova N, Feldchtein F, et al. In vivo endoscopic optical coherence tomography of esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.  Endoscopy. 2000;  32 750-755
  • 2 Jäckle S, Gladkova N, Feldchtein F, et al. In vivo endoscopic optical coherence tomography of the human gastrointestinal tract.  Endoscopy. 2000;  32 743-749
  • 3 Sivak M V, Kobayashi K Jr, Izatt J A, et al. High-resolution endoscopic imaging of the GI tract using optical coherence tomography.  Gastrointest Endosc. 2000;  51 474-479
  • 4 Bouma B E, Tearney G, Compton C C, et al. High-resolution imaging of the human esophagus and stomach in vivo using optical coherence tomography.  Gastrointest Endosc. 2000;  51 467-474
  • 5 Tearney G J, Brezinski M E, Southern J F, et al. Optical biopsy in human pancreatobiliary tissue using optical coherence tomography.  Dig Dis Sci. 1998;  48 1193-1199
  • 6 Sternberg S S. Gallbladder and extrahepatic biliary system. In: Sternberg, SS (ed). Histology for pathologists.  New York; Lippincott Raven, 1997 2nd ed: 601-603

U. Seitz, M.D.

Dept. of Interdisciplinary Endoscopy
University Hospital Eppendorf
University of Hamburg

Martinistr. 52
20251 Hamburg

Fax: + 49-40-42803-4420

eMail: seitz@uke.uni-hamburg.de