Early diagnosis and treatment planning for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is not well understood and women suffer from poor and often late diagnosis

Area of work

Endometriosis

Imaging modality

MRI, Ultrasound

Size of data set

100

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Project lead

Dr Ippokratis Sarris

Industry partners

Number of NHS partners

1

Unmet need

Endometriosis is found in approximately 10% women in their reproductive years. It is associated with: significant pelvic and abdominal pain during menstruation (dysmenorrhoea); painful intercourse (dyspareunia); and spontaneous pain outside menstrual periods. While minor and moderate endometriosis can be managed in all gynaecology departments, severe cases necessitate complex surgery.

NHS England notes that “Using UK population statistics 2005/6, there were 10.5 million women between the ages of 15 and 45 years”, which implies an incidence in the UK of up to 3.5 million cases. 

The clinical impact of endometriosis on woman’s health can be considerable especially in the context of infertility. Over 40% of women suffering from infertility will be diagnosed with endometriosis.

There is also increasing public awareness of this debilitating condition.

Project aim and objectives

This exemplar is distinguished in NCIMI in that it addresses a major healthcare issue that impacts women and aims to reduce the need for laparoscopic diagnoses. The aim of NCIMI is to progress from the starting point of “Unmet need” to at least a prototype/solution and a proof-of-concept clinical trial during the (initial) 3-year period of the project. The data to be gathered during NCIMI will be critical to realising this progress.

We have shown how to automatically detect bladder endometriosis lesions in MR images as a form of bladder wall thickening. We will further develop the method, to enable fusion with ultrasound, and to integrate the extrinsic images (MRI, US) with the local information provided laparoscopically during minimally-invasive surgery, to allow for better detection, diagnoses and support of treatment.

Project outcomes

  •  Improve patient experience through the diagnostic pathway
  • Reduce the use of laparoscopic diagnosis through advanced imaging and blood biomarkers
  • Improve diagnostic confidence for all users
  • Decrease time to diagnosis
  • Increase endometriosis awareness universally

As with so many activities, clinics that deal with endometriosis have not been running, due to coronavirus. We expect to begin recruiting for the study by the end of the year. 

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