State-of-the-Art Cardiovascular Endoscopy

A review of intravascular photoacoustics for imaging atherosclerosis
21 August 2019
Single-wavelength pulse-based IV-PA in vivo image examples generated from swine coronary artery in saline.
Single-wavelength pulse-based IV-PA in vivo image examples generated from swine coronary artery in saline.

A promising optical-acoustic hybrid imaging modality based on the use of laser-generated ultrasound may help to identify and evaluate a critical cardiovascular disease known as artherosclerosis. Intravascular photoacoustics (IV-PA) provides chemical-specific optical information of arterial walls with acoustic depth penetration and resolution that surpass the current gold standard diagnostic techniques.

Recently, researchers at University of Toronto reviewed two state-of-the-art types of IV-PA in terms of their physics and imaging capabilities, with an emphasis on the frequency-swept, continuous-wave-based IV-PA that has been recently introduced in the medical field.

Based on the mode of optical excitation and the corresponding signal processing technique, IV-PA is categorized into two different modalities. The pulse-based IV-PA has been the universal IV-PA imaging mode with its high peak power and straightforward time-domain signal processing technique. As an alternative, the low power continuous-wave-based IV-PA has been under intense development as a radar-like frequency-domain signal processing modality.

In their review, the authors note that research is ongoing in the attempt translate IV-PA modalities into clinical applications. Imaging time, cost, size, and safety, are important factors, among others. While much more preclinical/clinical research remains, the unique imaging capability of IV-PA holds strong potential for diagnosing and evaluating atherosclerosis.

Read the original review article in SPIE's peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Biomedical Optics: Sung Soo Sean Choi and Andreas Mandelis, "Review of the state of the art in cardiovascular endoscopy imaging of atherosclerosis using photoacoustic techniques with pulsed and continuous-wave optical excitations," J. of Biomedical Optics, 24(8), 080902 (2019).

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