Lipid deposition inside the arterial wall is a hallmark of plaque vulnerability. Overtone absorption-based intravascular photoacoustic (IVPA) catheter is a promising technology for quantifying the amount of lipid and its spatial distribution inside the arterial wall. Thus far, the clinical translation of IVPA technology is limited by its slow imaging speed due to lack of a high-power and high-repetition-rate laser source for lipid-specific excitation at 1.7 μm. Here, we demonstrate a potassium titanyl phosphate-based optical parametric oscillator (OPO) with output pulse energy up to 2 mJ at a wavelength of 1724 nm and with a repetition rate of 500 Hz. This OPO enabled IVPA imaging at 1 frame per sec, which is about 50-fold faster than previously reported IVPA systems. The IVPA imaging system was characterized by a pencil lead and a lipid-mimicking phantom for its imaging resolution, sensitivity, and specificity, respectively. Its performance was further validated by ex vivo study of an atherosclerotic human femoral artery and comparison to gold standard histology.
Jie Hui, Qianhuan Yu, Teng Ma, Pu Wang, Yingchun Cao, Rebecca Bruning, Yueqiao Qu, Zhongping Chen, Qifa Zhou, Michael Sturek, Weibiao Chen, and Ji-Xin Cheng, "High-speed intravascular photoacoustic imaging of lipid-laden plaque at 1.7 micron
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9708, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2016, 970804 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 14, 2016; Published: 27 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2212200.4828179374001.
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