To reproduce focusing in virtual microscopy, it is necessary to construct 3-dimensional (3D) virtual slides composed of whole slide images with different focuses. As focusing is frequently used for the assessment of Helicobacter pylori colonization in diagnostic pathology, we prepared virtual 3D slides with up to 9 focus planes from 144 gastric biopsy specimens with or without H pylori gastritis. The biopsy specimens were diagnosed in a blinded manner by 3 pathologists according to the updated Sydney classification using conventional microscopy, virtual microscopy with a single focus plane, and virtual 3D microscopy with 5 and 9 focus planes enabling virtual focusing.
Regarding the classification of H pylori, we found a positive correlation between the number of focus planes used in virtual microscopy and the number of correct diagnoses as determined by conventional microscopy.
Concerning H pylori positivity, the specificity and sensitivity of virtual 3D microscopy using virtual slides with 9 focus planes achieved a minimum of 0.95 each, which was approximately the same as in conventional microscopy. We consider virtual 3D microscopy appropriate for primary diagnosis of H pylori gastritis and equivalent to conventional microscopy.