Professor Krish Ragunath (Fellow: Dr Sarmed Sami)

Left: Professor Krish Ragunath - Supervisor
Right: Dr Sarmed Sami - 2013 Olympus-Guts UK National Endoscopy Fellowship

Title: Evaluation of novel and existing minimally-invasive endoscopic imaging tools to screen for Barrett’s Oesophagus and Oesophageal Varices

Institution: University of Nottingham

Project Start Date: 1 July 2013

Completion Date: 30 June 2016

There are certain conditions like Barrett’s Oesophagus (where the normal cell lining of the gullet becomes similar to that of the stomach or small intestine) and Oesophageal Varices (swollen veins in the gullet) that can happen in patients who do not have any symptoms. Barrett’s Oesophagus can occasionally lead to complications like ulcers and rarely cancer of the gullet. Similarly, Oesophageal Varices can cause serious bleeding in the gullet. If these conditions are diagnosed and treated early then patients may possibly avoid these complications.

Doctors know that certain patients are more likely to develop these conditions, but one of the problems is that there is no suitable test to use in this situation. The standard camera (endoscopy) which is inserted through the mouth is not ideal for testing large numbers of patients. So, a lot of research has been done to find alternative tests (blood tests, scans, very thin cameras which can be inserted through the nose) that are safer, cheaper and more comfortable. Most of these tests can be done at the doctor’s practice, which makes them more convenient.

The purpose of this project is first to see whether these existing tests are good enough to replace the standard oral camera. Secondly, to find out if a new model of nasal cameras is as good as the standard oral camera test. Thirdly, to interview some of the patients and identify in more detail what they like and don’t like about each test (nasal and standard camera). And finally, to estimate which tests are affordable for use in the NHS.

If the results show that one or more tests are useful and more comfortable to patients, then this will mean that it can potentially be used to diagnose thousands of other patients who may have these two serious conditions and treat them early. This may reduce the chance of complications and improve the quality of life and survival for these patients.

Guts UK’s funding has allowed me to have a period of focused research for the benefit of NHS patients.

Dr Sarmed Sami