Ongoing Research Funded by DHF

Cutting Edge Technology (HRIM) Reveals Next Generation Testing in Esophageal Diseases

2022  | Disease: Esophageal Diseases

Principal Researcher: Wenjun Kou, PhD

Principal Investigator: Wenjun Kou, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology and Hepatology), Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

Many serious esophageal motility disorders and diseases are diagnosed with the newer technology of High-Resolution Impedance Manometry (HRIM). HRIM measures pressures and fluid movement in the esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter connecting to the stomach. Dr. Kou’s team is transforming an HRIM-based analysis technique into new tools with metrics/outcomes for use by physicians in clinical practice. Taking HRIM analytics a step further offers more specific evaluation of esophageal function. The esophageal metrics being studied include bolus retention; intrabolus pressure (IBP) and distensibility of the esophageal body at each phase; pressure and distensibility of esophagogastric junction (EGJ) as well as emptying flow rate. Dr. Kou’s research study involves: 1) designing and implementing metrics-based algorithms to analyze esophageal function; and 2) deriving a metrics dataset from HRIM studies of various tissue/cellular phenotypes. The research team will then use complex statistical analysis and the new field of ‘machine learning’ to evaluate the discriminating power (usefulness) of the metrics, and derive classification models of esophageal function for use in diagnosing esophageal diseases. Dr. Kou will conduct a further comparison of those results with similar outcomes from panometry—another recently developed technology used in esophageal evaluations. Using these high-level tools to develop precise metrics and advanced classifications in esophageal diseases ultimately improves physicians’ ability to diagnose and treat esophageal diseases as accurately and quickly as possible, minimizing the long-term effects of these potentially debilitating and life-threatening diseases.

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