Altered hemodynamics in developing embryonic hearts lead to congenital heart diseases, motivating close monitoring of blood flow over several stages of development. Doppler OCT can assess blood flow in tubular hearts, but the maximum velocity increases drastically during the period of cardiac cushion (valve precursors) formation. Therefore, the limited dynamic range of Doppler OCT velocity measurement makes it difficult to conduct longitudinal studies without phase wrapping at high velocities or loss of sensitivity to slow velocities. We have built a high-speed OCT system using an FDML laser (Optores GmbH, Germany) at a sweep rate of 1.68 MHz (axial resolution - 12 μm, sensitivity - 105 dB, phase stability - 17 mrad). The speed of this OCT system allows us to acquire high-density B-scans to obtain an extended velocity dynamic range without sacrificing the frame rate. The extended dynamic range within a frame is achieved by varying the A-scan interval at which the phase difference is found, enabling detection of velocities ranging from tens of microns per second to hundreds of mm per second. The extra lines in a frame can also be utilized to improve the structural and Doppler images via complex averaging. In structural images where presence of blood causes additional scattering, complex averaging helps retrieve features located deeper in the tissue. Moreover, high-density frames can be registered to 4D volumes to determine the orthogonal direction of flow and calculate shear stress. In conclusion, our high-speed OCT system will enable automated Doppler imaging of embryonic hearts in cohort studies.
Sahar Elahi, Lars Thrane, Andrew M. Rollins, and Michael W. Jenkins, "Automated assessment of blood flow in developing embryonic hearts by extending dynamic range of Doppler OCT using a MHz FDML swept laser source (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10043, Diagnosis and Treatment of Diseases in the Breast and Reproductive System, 100430S (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2253239.5370007614001.
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