High definition television is making its way from the living room to the hospital room. Now, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center is among the first hospitals on the Central Coast to introduce the technology as part of a new endoscope platform to help doctors diagnose diseases in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, including colorectal cancer (CRC). CRC is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women combined in the U.S.
Compared to conventional systems, high-definition endoscopy, combined with Narrow Band Imaging™ (NBI), can provide doctors with sharper images and better contrast, which in turn may help them to better detect lesions during examinations when using the wide-angle colonscope. As a result, patients may receive more accurate diagnoses. The new system can also shorten procedure times for patients.
The HDTV signal from the endoscope platform’s video processor is designed to produce an impressive 1080 lines of resolution, more than twice the number of scan lines used by conventional systems, offering doctors breathtaking images of the colon with a high level of detail and color. NBI is a new image processing technique which takes advantage of the scattering and absorption properties of human tissue, thereby improving visual contrast on mucosal surfaces during endoscopic observation of the GI tract. The result is remarkably clear views of anatomical structures and fine capillary patterns of mucous membranes, which are normally difficult to distinguish.
The American Cancer Society projects that colon and rectal cancer will kill 55,170 Americans this year. The ACS also points out that the five year survival rate for people whose CRC is treated in an early stage, before it has spread, is greater than 90%. The ACS recommends that beginning at age 50, both men and women should be screened for colon and rectal cancer. People with CRC risk factors, such as a personal history of CRC or adenomatous polyps or a strong family history of CRC or polyps, should talk to their doctor about starting CRC screenings earlier.