New Intravascular Catheter Views Plaques with Ultrasound and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging

At University of California, Davis engineers managed to combine intravascular ultrasound with fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIm) inside a single catheter. The combined imaging modalities provide a new look inside of arteries, offering both a morphological picture as well as one that gives insight into the composition of plaques. While cath-lab techniques are now commonly used to detect and treat plaque build-up, diagnosing the actual problem typically involves angiographies, which can show the narrowing of vessel walls. The problem is that plaque can still be dangerous even if it doesn’t constrict vessels, and the composition of such plaque can indicate how problematic it really is.

The catheter uses ultrasound to see the shape of the interior of arteries, while fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIm), which measures how long a target fluoresces after being excited with laser light, provides biochemical data about plaques. Combined, the two imaging modalities may help doctors to diagnose plaque-related diseases, as well as to monitor how therapies are working out.

So far the device has been tried in living pig hearts and inside of samples of human coronary arteries, but the researchers are already in talks with the FDA on getting regulatory approval to try the device on real patients.

Here’s two videos from the same artery. This first video combines ultrasound (grayscale) with FLIm (full color):

This second video shows just the fluorescence signal, with blue representing healthy tissue while colors between yellow and red pointing to plaque and diseased tissue:

Study in Scientific Reports: In vivo label-free structural and biochemical imaging of coronary arteries using an integrated ultrasound and multispectral fluorescence lifetime catheter system…

Via: UC Davis…