Novel imaging technology for easy detection of vulnerable plaqueOctober 13th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Oct 13 (ANI): A new imaging technology, known as optical coherence tomography (OCT), has been shown to be the best tool for diagnosing vulnerable plaque in coronary arteries, say researchers.
Vulnerable plaque (VP) has been identified as a possible cause of sudden cardiac death, most of which occurs in patients with no history of heart disease.
VP has an underlying lipid-rich core covered by a thin fibrous cap, which is very difficult to visualize, and is considered to be a major step in detecting and treating the condition.
Researchers at Ajou University School of Medicine in Suwon, Korea, have now claimed that OCT provides superior contrast and resolution in imaging the components of plaque in coronary arteries, in comparison to other methods including intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) and virtual histology (VH-IVUS).
“OCT may answer longstanding questions about the relationship between vulnerable plaque and the risk of heart attack, said lead investigator Dr. So-Yeon Choi.
The researchers aimed at examining the ability of each imaging modality to detect the specific characteristics of vulnerable plaque. They performed IVUS, VH-IVUS and OCT in 48 patients who were categorized as having stable angina pectoris (15) or acute coronary syndromes (33).
With the help of OCT, the detection of vulnerable plaque turned out to be quite easy.
“OCT detected most of the major and minor characteristics of vulnerable plaque, including the thin cap with large lipid core, and it has the ability to detect thrombus and fissured plaque at a level that is four to five times better than that of other modalities. Because of OCT’’s high resolution capabilities, which is almost 10 times greater than with IVUS and related modalities, it can assess this tissue more accurately than other imaging methods, said Choi.
The researchers believe that OCT may provide a better understanding of the natural progression of coronary artery disease. For example, stenosis or erosion of endothelial cells with plaque could be detected even in patients with stable angina.
“That finding is something that we had never experienced before; we should study more the clinical implication of these findings. New evolving OCT imaging is moving closer to becoming a powerful diagnostic tool that will provide new insights into the etiology and treatment of coronary artery disease,” said Choi.
The investigators admit that the current OCT technology has some limitationsit needs a blood-clear zone and a low penetrating depth to be most effective. They, however, insist that the procedure is safe and can be performed in a cath lab.
Their findings are summarized in the abstract titled “Comparison of Intravascular Modalities for Detecting Vulnerable Plaque: Conventional Ultrasound vs. Virtual Histology vs. Optical Coherence Tomography.” (ANI)
- Imaging techniques can identify plaques likely to cause heart attacks - Sep 25, 2009
- Coronary imaging helps track plaques that trigger heart attacks - Sep 25, 2009
- MRI scan 'better' than invasive tests for heart patients - Dec 23, 2011
- Iron in coronary artery plaque 'a marker of heart attack risk' - Nov 16, 2010
- People with sleep apnea 'more likely to develop aggressive heart disease' - Dec 01, 2010
- Ultrasound technique better alternative to invasive angiography for diagnosing heart disease - Jun 15, 2010
- Calcium scans can help predict heart attack risk - Oct 01, 2009
- Fat around heart promotes cardiac disease - Aug 16, 2011
- Drug may reduce coronary artery plaque - Oct 13, 2008
- Mother's stroke history 'can help predict daughter's heart attack risk' - Feb 02, 2011
- Intake of egg yolks can block arteries: Study - Aug 14, 2012
- Drug holds promise for reducing coronary artery plaque - Oct 13, 2008
- Presence of iron in artery predicts cardiac risk - Nov 16, 2010
- New technique to identify potential atherosclerosis risk found - Apr 12, 2011
- Imaging breakthrough to help docs see microscopic details inside our bodies - Nov 23, 2010
Tags: acute coronary syndromes, ajou university, angina pectoris, coherence tomography, coronary arteries, fibrous cap, history of heart disease, ivus, minor characteristics, natural progression, new imaging, optical coherence, resolution capabilities, rich core, risk of heart attack, stable angina, sudden cardiac death, suwon korea, thin cap, vulnerable plaque