Quantification of vascular elasticity can help detect thrombosis and prevent life-threatening conditions such as acute myocardial infarction or stroke. Here, we propose vascular elastic photoacoustic tomography (VE-PAT) to measure vascular elasticity in humans. VE-PAT was developed by incorporating a linear-array-based photoacoustic computed tomography system with a customized compression stage. By measuring the deformation of blood vessels under uniaxial loading, VE-PAT was able to quantify the vascular compliance. We first demonstrated the feasibility of VE-PAT in blood vessel phantoms. In large vessel phantoms, VE-PAT detected a decrease in vascular compliance due to simulated thrombosis, which was validated by a standard compression test. In small blood vessel phantoms embedded 3 mm deep in gelatin, VE-PAT detected elasticity changes at depths that are difficult to image using other elasticity imaging techniques. We then applied VE-PAT to assess vascular compliance in a human subject and detected a decrease in vascular compliance when an occlusion occurred downstream from the measurement point, demonstrating the potential of VE-PAT in clinical applications such as detection of deep venous thrombosis.
Pengfei Hai, Yong Zhou, Jinyang Liang, Chiye Li, and Lihong V. Wang, "Vascular elastic photoacoustic tomography in humans," Proc. SPIE 9708, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2016, 970803 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 15 March 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2219700.
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