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Optical coherence tomographic elastography technique for measuring deformation and strain of atherosclerotic tissues
  1. J Rogowska1,
  2. N A Patel1,
  3. J G Fujimoto2,
  4. M E Brezinski1
  1. 1Orthopedics Department, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
  2. 2Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M E Brezinski
    Orthopedics Department, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St., Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA;


Objectives: To evaluate optical coherence tomographic elastography as a method for assessing the elastic properties of atherosclerotic plaque and the parameters that influence interpretation.

Methods: Phantoms and aorta were examined in vitro to quantify speckle modulation and measure the displacement and strain maps. A correlation method was used as a speckle tracking technique for measuring axial and lateral displacement vectors and calculation of strain maps. The influence of correlation kernel size on accuracy of the method was evaluated.

Results: In terms of a percentage error between calculated and measured displacements, the best results for phantoms were obtained with a 41 × 41 kernel (1.88% error). For both phantom and aorta images, it was found that, with the increasing size of cross correlation kernel, the axial and lateral displacement maps are less noisy and the displacement vectors are more clearly defined. However, the large kernels tend to average out the differences in displacements of small particles in phantoms and decrease the ability of speckle tracking to make microstructural assessments. Therefore, it is important to select kernel size carefully, based on the image features.

Conclusions: Optical tomographic elastography can be used to assess the microstructural properties of atherosclerotic tissue at micrometre scale resolution, but preselected analysis criteria must be understood in a critical interpretation of the results.

  • optical coherence tomography
  • elastography
  • atherosclerotic plaque
  • strain maps

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