Not all plaque – the fatty substance that builds up in arteries – is the same and some plaque types are more likely to rupture, which can trigger the formation of a blood clot and a blocked artery. An experimental spectroscopic/imaging technique can provide exact information about plaque components that can help guide treatment, researchers reported at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2005.
"Time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy or TR-LIFS can be used to accurately identify plaque with these dangerous characteristics, while the plaque still lines the walls of vessels," said lead researcher Laura Marcu, Ph.D., director of biophotonics research at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and associate professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
The laser pulse heats up or "excites" molecules in the plaque while researchers measure the "time" that molecules stay in the excited state. This time is specific to different types of molecules, which helps researchers determine the "exact composition of the plaque."
Carole Bullock | EurekAlert!
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