Journal Article
. 2002 Jun; 33(4):410-4.
doi: 10.1053/hupa.2002.124722.

Internet teleconferencing method for telepathology consultations from lung and heart transplant patients

Alberto M Marchevsky 1 Sean K Lau  Elham Khanafshar  Christopher Lockhart  Ann Phan  Paul J Michaels  Michael C Fishbein  
Affiliations
  • PMID: 12055675
  •     4 citations

Abstract

Current Internet-based teleconferencing techniques allow a referring pathologist to transmit real-time images from a microscope to a consultant, while maintaining a verbal conversation using Internet telephony. In our study, 50 randomly selected transbronchial biopsies from lung allograft recipients and 58 randomly selected endomyocardial biopsies from heart transplant patients were diagnosed by consultant pathologists using Internet-based teleconferencing methods. The referring pathologists acquired the real-time video images from the biopsies using a light microscope equipped with a phototube adapter and a video camera. The consultant pathologists viewed the processed images on a video monitor at 800 x 600 resolution, using a standard microcomputer equipped with Netmeeting software, and directed the referring pathologist to move the slide under the microscopy and/or change image magnification. The validity of telepathology diagnoses was assessed with kappa coefficients. Consultations were completed in 5 to 15 minutes per case. Sound transmission was unreliable, and in approximately 25% of consultations the referring pathologist needed to "call back" to reestablish verbal communication. In all but 2 transbronchial biopsies there was agreement between the original diagnosis and the diagnosis by telepathology (kappa = 0.92). In 48 of 58 endomyocardial biopsies there was concordance between the 2 diagnoses (kappa = 0.692). Only 3 out of 10 of these discrepancies were clinically significant (kappa = 0.897). Internet-based teleconferencing techniques provide effective and relatively inexpensive tools for real time telepathology consultations. The technology is probably best suited for the study of small specimens from patients that require rapid diagnosis by a consultant.

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