Myocardial infarction (MI), a cause of significant morbidity and mortality, is typically followed by microstructural alterations where the necrotic myocardium is steadily replaced with a collagen scar. Engineered remodeling of the fibrotic scar via stem cell regeneration has been shown to improve/restore the myocardium function after MI. Nevertheless, the heterogeneous nature of the scar patch may impair the myocardial electrical integrity, leading to the formation of arrhythmogenesis. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) offers an effective treatment for focal arrhythmias where local heating generated via electric current at specific spots in the myocardium ablate the arrhythmogenic foci. Characterization of these myocardial pathologies (i.e., infarcted, stem cell regenerated, and RFA-ablated myocardial tissues) is of potential clinical importance. Optical polarimetry, the use of light to map and characterize the polarization signatures of a sample, has emerged as a powerful imaging tool for structural characterization of myocardial tissues, exploiting the underlying highly fibrous tissue nature. This study aims to review the recent progress in optical polarimetry pertaining to the characterization of myocardial pathologies while describing the underlying biological rationales that give rise to the optical imaging contrast in various pathologies of the myocardium. Future possibilities of and challenges to optical polarimetry in cardiac imaging clinics are also discussed.
Mueller matrix polarimetry along with polar decomposition algorithm was employed for the characterization of ex vivo normal and adenocarcinoma human colon tissues by polarized light in the visible spectral range (425–725 nm). Six derived polarization metrics [total diattenuation (DT), retardance (RT), depolarization (ΔT), linear diattenuation (DL), retardance (δ), and depolarization (ΔL)] were compared for normal and adenocarcinoma colon tissue samples. The results show that all six polarimetric properties for adenocarcinoma samples were significantly higher as compared to the normal samples for all wavelengths. The Wilcoxon rank sum test illustrated that total retardance is a good candidate for the discrimination of normal and adenocarcinoma colon samples. Support vector machine classification for normal and adenocarcinoma based on the four polarization properties spectra (ΔT, ΔL, RT,and δ) yielded 100% accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity, while both DT and DL showed 66.6%, 33.3%, and 83.3% accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity, respectively. The combination of polarization analysis and given classification methods provides a framework to distinguish the normal and cancerous tissues.