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Combined arterial imaging technology reveals both structural and metabolic details
Date:11/6/2011

A new device that combines two microimaging technologies can reveal both the detailed anatomy of arterial linings and biological activities that, in coronary arteries, could indicate the risk of heart attacks or the formation of clots in arterial stents. In their report receiving early online release in Nature Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators describe using an intra-arterial catheter combining both optical frequency-domain imaging (OFDI) and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging to obtain simultaneous structural and molecular images of internal arterial surfaces in rabbits.

"The ability to measure both microstructural and molecular information from the same location in the artery wall could provide a much better diagnostic tool for assessing vascular pathology, information that is highly relevant for diagnosing coronary artery disease, vulnerable plaque and evaluating stent healing," says Gary Tearney, MD, PhD, of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and the MGH Pathology Department, co-senior author of the article.

Developed at the Wellman Center, OFDI utilizes a fiberoptic probe with a constantly rotating laser tip to create detailed molecular images of interior surfaces such as arterial walls. While OFDI can be used to guide procedures like coronary artery angioplasty and to confirm the correct positioning of metal stents inserted to keep cleared arteries open, its ability to determine important details of stent healing is limited. Properly healed stents become covered with endothelium, the same tissue that normally coats the arterial surface; but stents can become coated with the clot-inducing protein fibrin, which may put patients at risk for stent thrombosis a clot that blocks bloodflow through the stent and OFDI cannot determine the molecular composition of tissue covering a stent.

Intravascular NIRF technology was developed in the MGH Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC), in collabo
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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Combined arterial imaging technology reveals both structural and metabolic details
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