PURPOSE: This study aims to analyse differences in fiberoptic laryngoscopy (FOL) versus high definition laryngoscopy (HDL) by examining videolaryngoscopy images by a large group of observers with different levels of clinical expertise in ear, nose and throat (ENT) medicine.
METHODS: This study is a 111 observer paired analysis of laryngoscopy videos during an interactive presentation. During a National Meeting of the Dutch Society of ENT/Head and Neck Surgery, observers assessed both FOL and HDL videos of nine cases with additional clinical information. Observers included 41 ENT consultants (36.9%), 34 ENT residents (30.6%), 22 researchers with Head and Neck interest (19.8%) and 14 with unspecified clinical expertise (12.6%). For both laryngoscopic techniques, sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value and diagnostic accuracy were determined for identifying a normal glottis, hyperkeratosis, radiotherapy adverse effects and squamous cell carcinoma. The sensitivities for FOL and HDL were analysed with regard to the different levels of clinical expertise.
RESULTS: The overall sensitivity for correctly identifying the specific histological entity was higher in HDL (FOL 61% vs HDL 66.3%, p < 0.05). HDL was superior to FOL in identifying a normal glottis (FOL 68.1% vs HDL 91.6%, p < 0.01) and squamous cell carcinoma (FOL 70.86% vs HDL 79.41%, p = 0.02). Residents and researchers with Head and Neck interest diagnosed laryngeal lesions more correctly with HDL (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: In a large population of observers with different levels of clinical expertise, HDL is superior to FOL in identifying laryngeal lesions.