Digital pathology for intraoperative frozen section diagnosis of thoracic specimens: an evaluation of a system using remote sampling and whole slide imaging diagnosis.

Research paper by Jon J Griffin, Panagiota P Kitsanta, Branko B Perunovic, S Kim SK Suvarna, Jonathan J Bury

Indexed on: 28 Aug '21Published on: 07 Dec '19Published in: Journal of clinical pathology


Digital pathology is now used for primary diagnostic work as well as teaching, research and consultation. In our multisite institution service reorganisation led to histopathology being located in a separate hospital from some surgical specialities. We implemented remotely supervised specimen sampling and frozen section diagnosis using digital pathology. In this study we assessed the concordance of glass and digital slide diagnosis using this system. We reviewed cases from the first 2 years of digital frozen section reporting at our institution. Cases with potential digital to glass slide discordance were reviewed by three experienced thoracic histopathologists. The reasons for discordance were determined and common themes identified. We also reviewed critical incidents relating to digital pathology during the study period. The study population comprised 211 cases. Frozen section to final diagnosis concordance between digital and glass slide diagnosis was found in 196 (92.6%) cases. The 15 potentially discordant cases were reviewed. Intraobserver concordance between glass and digital slide review ranged from 9/15 to 12/15 cases across the three pathologists. Glass slide review diagnosis showed better concordance with ground truth in two cases; digital slide review was more accurate in two cases. One relevant critical incident was identified during the study period. This is the largest study to examine digital pathology for thoracic frozen section diagnosis and shows that this is a safe and feasible alternative to glass slide diagnosis. Discordance between digital and glass slide diagnoses were unrelated to the processes of whole slide imaging and digital microscopy. © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.