Abstract: Endoscopic estimation of the degree of stenosis in central airway obstruction is subjective and highly variable. Objective: To determine the benefits of using SENSA (System for Endoscopic Stenosis Assessment), an image-based computational software, for obtaining objective stenosis index (SI) measurements among a group of expert bronchoscopists and general pulmonologists. Methods: A total of 7 expert bronchoscopists and 7 general pulmonologists were enrolled to validate SENSA usage. The SI obtained by the physicians and by SENSA were compared with a reference SI to set their precision in SI computation. We used SENSA to efficiently obtain this reference SI in 11 selected cases of benign stenosis. A Web platform with three user-friendly microtasks was designed to gather the data. The users had to visually estimate the SI from videos with and without contours of the normal and the obstructed area provided by SENSA. The users were able to modify the SENSA contours to define the reference SI using morphometric bronchoscopy. Results: Visual SI estimation accuracy was associated with neither bronchoscopic experience (p = 0.71) nor the contours of the normal and the obstructed area provided by the system (p = 0.13). The precision of the SI by SENSA was 97.7% (95% CI: 92.4-103.7), which is significantly better than the precision of the SI by visual estimation (p < 0.001), with an improvement by at least 15%. Conclusion: SENSA provides objective SI measurements with a precision of up to 99.5%, which can be calculated from any bronchoscope using an affordable scalable interface. Providing normal and obstructed contours on bronchoscopic videos does not improve physicians' visual estimation of the SI.
Keywords: Bronchoscopy; Tracheal stenosis; Airway stenosis; Computer-assisted analysis