Electrical tissue impedance spectroscopy: a novel device to measure esophageal mucosal integrity changes during endoscopy


Address for Correspondence

Pim W. Weijenborg, MD, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, Postbus 22660, 1100 DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tel: +31 (0)20 566 1745; fax: +31 (0)20 5669478;

e-mail: p.w.weijenborg@amc.uva.nl



Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have impaired esophageal mucosal integrity. Measurement of the mucosal integrity is complex and time-consuming. Electrical tissue impedance spectroscopy (ETIS) is a device that measures impedance of tissue in vivo during endoscopy. In this study, we aimed to validate ETIS as a measure of esophageal mucosal integrity.


Electrical tissue impedance spectroscopy measurements were performed during upper endoscopy in 12 GERD patients and 11 healthy controls after cessation of proton pump inhibition. During endoscopy biopsies of the distal esophagus were obtained for transmission electron microscopy to determine dilation of intercellular spaces (DIS) and for Ussing chamber experiments to determine transepithelial permeability and transepithelial electrical resistance.

Key Results

Extracellular impedance measured in vivo by ETIS was significantly lower in GERD patients compared to controls [mean (SD) 5621 (3299) Ω.m and 8834 (2542) Ω.m, respectively, P < 0.05]. We found a strong inverse relation between extracellular impedance determined by ETIS and DIS (r = −0.76, P < 0.05), and between extracellular resistance in vivo and transepithelial permeability of esophageal biopsies (r = −0.65, P < 0.01).

Conclusions & Inferences

Electrical tissue impedance spectroscopy is a new tool that can be used to evaluate esophageal mucosal integrity changes during endoscopy.