Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Optical technique identifies vulnerable plaques in cardiac patients

29.03.2005


Imaging technology may someday guide therapy designed to prevent heart attacks



A catheter-based imaging technology called optical coherence tomography (OCT) can successfully identify the characteristics of coronary plaques in patients with various cardiac symptoms. The report from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) will appear in the journal Circulation and has received early online release at http://www.circulationaha.org/.

"More than 1.2 million people die from coronary artery disease every year, a quarter of them before or soon after arriving at the hospital," says Ik-Kyung Jang, MD, PhD, director of cardiovascular clinical research in the MGH Cardiology Division and lead author of the current study. "The ability to identify dangerous plaques before they rupture and produce a heart attack or sudden cardiac death will be crucial to innovative preventive therapies."


Plaques are deposits of fats, cholesterol and other materials that collect in major arteries, restricting or sometimes blocking blood flow. While some plaques are relatively stable, others are vulnerable to rupture and release their contents into the bloodstream, causing a blood clot to form. Heart attacks and other acute coronary events usually result from the rupture of high-risk, vulnerable plaques in coronary arteries, and the characteristics of those plaques have been determined primarily by autopsy studies.

OCT uses infrared light delivered via fiberoptic catheter to produce high-resolution, cross-sectional images of blood vessels. Study co-authors Guillermo Tearney, MD, PhD, of the MGH Pathology Department and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at MGH, and Brett Bouma, PhD, also of the Wellman Center, developed the use of OCT to visualize coronary arteries, including vulnerable plaques. The technology developed in their laboratory was used for this first study to examine the structure of plaques in patients with cardiac disease.

The study enrolled patients scheduled to undergo cardiac catheterization for whom angiograms or other imaging techniques had identified the arterial lesion responsible for their symptoms. Participants either had experienced a recent heart attack or had acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a set of symptoms associated with reduced blood supply to the heart muscle. A third group had stable angina, chest pain that occurs with physical or mental stress, which is not usually related to plaque rupture. Clear OCT images of the suspicious lesions were obtained for 20 heart attack patients, 20 with ACS and 17 with stable angina.

Vulnerable plaques are believed to have three major characteristics – a deposit of lipids (fats), a thin cap of fibrous material covering the lipid pool, and infiltration of the immune cells called macrophages. The OCT images showed that the heart attack and ACS patients had more lipid in their plaques and significantly thinner fibrous caps than did the stable angina patients. Overall, vulnerable plaques were identified in 72 percent of the heart attack patients, 50 percent of those with ACS and only 20 percent of stable angina patients.

"This is the first technique that allows us to study the structural changes underlying vulnerable plaques in living patients, and it supports the conclusions of previously reported postmortem studies," says Jang. "We still need to gather more data to confirm these characteristics, and our group will carry out further studies of how plaques develop and rupture. Someday OCT may provide information that will guide treatments to prevent plaque rupture and its disastrous consequences." Jang is an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Along with the study’s senior author Bouma and Tearney, additional co-authors are Briain MacNeill, MD, Masamichi Takano, MD, and Fabian Moselewski, of the MGH Cardiology Division; Nicusor Iftima, PhD, and Milen Shishkov, PhD, of the Wellman Center; Stuart Houser, MD, and Thomas Aretz, MD, MGH Department of Pathology; and Elkan Halpern, MGH Department of Radiology. The study was supported by grants from the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology, for development of the imaging system platform; the National Institutes of Health and Guidant Corporation.

Sue McGreevey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.circulationaha.org
http://www.mgh.harvard.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>