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High resolution in vivo intra-arterial imaging with optical coherence tomography
  1. J G Fujimotoa,
  2. S A Bopparta,
  3. G J Tearneya,
  4. B E Boumaa,
  5. C Pitrisa,
  6. M E Brezinskib
  1. aDepartment of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA, bCardiac Unit, Massachusetts Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
  1. Dr M Brezinski, Office 36-357, Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


BACKGROUND Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a new method of catheter based micron scale imaging. OCT is analogous to ultrasound, measuring the intensity of backreflected infrared light rather than sound waves.

OBJECTIVE To demonstrate the ability of OCT to perform high resolution imaging of arterial tissue in vivo.

METHODS OCT imaging of the abdominal aorta of New Zealand white rabbits was performed using a 2.9 F OCT imaging catheter. Using an ultrashort pulse laser as a light source for imaging, an axial resolution of 10 μm was achieved.

RESULTS Imaging was performed at 4 frames/second and data were saved in either super VHS or digital format. Saline injections were required during imaging because of the signal attenuation caused by blood. Microstructure was sharply defined within the arterial wall and correlated with histology. Some motion artefacts were noted at 4 frames/second.

CONCLUSIONS In vivo imaging of the rabbit aorta was demonstrated at a source resolution of 10 μm, but required the displacement of blood with saline. The high resolution of OCT allows imaging to be performed near the resolution of histopathology, offering the potential to have an impact both on the identification of high risk plaques and the guidance of interventional procedures.

  • imaging
  • intravascular ultrasound
  • plaque rupture
  • optical coherence tomography

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