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On-line detection of cholesterol and calcification by catheter based Raman spectroscopy in human atherosclerotic plaque ex vivo
  1. S W E van de Poll1,
  2. K Kastelijn1,
  3. T C Bakker Schut3,
  4. C Strijder2,
  5. G Pasterkamp2,
  6. G J Puppels3,
  7. A van der Laarse1
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, Netherlands
  2. 2Interuniversity Cardiology Institute of the Netherlands, Utrecht, Netherlands
  3. 3Laboratory of Intensive Care Research and Optical Spectroscopy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr A van der Laarse, Department of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, Netherlands;


Background: Raman spectroscopy has the unique potential to detect and quantify cholesterol and calcification in an atherosclerotic plaque in vivo.

Objective: To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of this technique for detecting cholesterol or calcification in human coronary artery and aorta specimens ex vivo, using a compact clinical fibreoptic based Raman system developed for in vivo applications.

Design: From nine coronary arteries and four aorta specimens, 114 sites were evaluated for the presence of cholesterol and calcification by Raman spectroscopy and standard histology. Raman spectra were acquired and evaluated on-line in around five seconds.

Results: The correlation between Raman spectroscopy and histology was r = 0.68 for cholesterol and r = 0.71 calcification in the plaque (p < 0.0001). Sensitivity and specificity for detecting cholesterol and calcification were excellent: receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis for each of the components revealed areas under the curves of > 0.92 (p < 0.0001). At the optimal cut-off values determined by ROC analysis, positive predictive values of > 80% and negative predictive values of > 90% were obtained.

Conclusions: On-line real time catheter based Raman spectroscopy detects accumulation of cholesterol and calcification in atherosclerotic plaque with high sensitivity and specificity.

  • atherosclerosis
  • vulnerable plaque
  • Raman spectroscopy

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