Intravascular optical coherence tomography (IV-OCT) is a high-resolution imaging method used to visualize the internal structures of walls of coronary arteries in vivo. However, accurate characterization of atherosclerotic plaques with gray-scale IV-OCT images is often limited by various intrinsic artifacts. In this study, we present an algorithm for characterizing lipid-rich plaques with a spectroscopic OCT technique based on a Gaussian center of mass (GCOM) metric. The GCOM metric, which reflects the absorbance properties of lipids, was validated using a lipid phantom. In addition, the proposed characterization method was successfully demonstrated in vivo using an atherosclerotic rabbit model and was found to have a sensitivity and specificity of 94.3% and 76.7% for lipid classification, respectively.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a useful imaging method for in vivo tissue imaging with deep penetration and high spatial resolution. However, imaging of the beating mouse heart is still challenging due to limited temporal resolution or penetration depth. Here, we demonstrate a multifunctional OCT system for a beating mouse heart, providing various types of visual information about heart pathophysiology with high spatiotemporal resolution and deep tissue imaging. Angiographic imaging and polarization-sensitive (PS) imaging were implemented with the electrocardiogram (ECG)-triggered beam scanning scheme on the high-speed OCT platform (A-line rate: 240 kHz). Depth-resolved local birefringence and the local orientation of the mouse myocardial fiber were visualized from the PS-OCT. ECG-triggered angiographic OCT (AOCT) with the custom-built motion stabilization imaging window provided myocardial vasculature of a beating mouse heart. Mice underwent coronary artery ligation to derive myocardial infarction (MI) and were imaged with the multifunctional OCT system at multiple time points. AOCT and PS-OCT visualize change of functionality of coronary vessels and myocardium respectively at different phases (acute and chronic) of MI in an ischemic mouse heart. Taken together, the integrated imaging of PS-OCT and AOCT would play an important role in study of MI providing multi-dimensional information of the ischemic mouse heart in vivo.