New Techniques for Diagnosing Acid Reflux Disease

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • If you or someone you love has acid reflux disease, you may be hearing more about the following six letters: CLE and CFM. These are two of the techniques being introduced this week at Digestive Disease Week, a gathering of physicians, researchers, and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, and endoscopy. Digestive Disease Week is considered the largest meeting in the world for GI professionals, attracting more than 16,000 professionals who desire to stay up-to-date in their respective fields.


    CLE, or confocal laser endomicroscopy, is a tiny microscope used at the tip of an endoscope to provide highly magnified images of the esophagus which can help doctors detect suspicious activity immediately. This real-time microscopic technique is able to magnify the lining of the esophagus 1,000 times which will enable investigators to take biopsies only of areas that look suspicious, instead of performing many unnecessary random biopsies. This could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of acid reflux disease.

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    Stanford University School of Medicine is leading the way for the new technology on the west coast, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is a contact on the east coast.


    CFM, is also being introduced at this week's meeting. CFM is an abbreviation for confocal endomicroscopy system, which is a procedure doctors can use to diagnose and treat precancerous polyps at the time of the procedure, without unnecessary biopsies and removal of tissue. CFM can immediately distinguish benign from precancerous polyps with very high accuracy. The CFM probe provides images of cells and the tiny blood vessels around the cells, similar to what pathologists look at under a standard microscope.


    The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida is leading the way on this new technology, exploring ways to further increase the accuracy of the procedure and apply it to other GI conditions that in the past would have required biopsy or tissue removal.


    For more breaking news from Digestive Disease Week, you can visit the following web site:

Published On: May 21, 2008