"Such failure can be catastrophic, causing heart attack or sudden death," he said.
The OCT will take as many as 500 images of each stent. Wilson is developing software to quantitatively analyze every detail captured within minutes. Currently, such analysis takes a trained doctor eight to 15 hours. The computer analysis will also eliminate the variability of manual analysis, Wilson said.
The images produced by OCT are actually reflections of an infrared laser in the artery, measured at various depths to produce a three-dimensional image. The technology has 10 times the resolution of the analogous ultrasound-based technology, called intravascular ultrasound, or IVUS.
Rollins, an expert in OCT, has been tailoring OCT for multiple applications. His understanding of the OCT imaging process helps the team tailor software to recognize plaques in the heart's arteries and identify those likely to rupturethe most common cause of heart attacks and the areas targeted for stents.
The rapid return of information would allow cardiologists implanting stents to determine if more stents are needed to seal off plaques likely to rupture, or to optimize the stent deployment for example making the devices wider to improve blood flow during the procedure.
If a stented patient complains of problems or doesn't improve, the doctor would be able to reexamine during a follow-up visit to see if the stent scaffold is covered with new tissue, as designed. The findings may be used to guide therapy, such as prescribing medication to prevent blood clotting that can occur at the uncovered site.
In addition to clinical practice, t
|Contact: Kevin Mayhood|
Case Western Reserve University