ABSTRACT: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a novel imaging technology based on low-coherence interferometry that uses scattering of near-infrared light as a signal source to provide vascular cross-sectional imaging with definition far superior to any other available modality. With spatial resolution of up to 10 microm, OCT provides 20-fold higher resolution than intravascular ultrasound (IVUS), currently the most used modality for intra-coronary imaging. OCT has the capacity to provide invaluable insight into the various phases of atherosclerotic disease and vascular response to therapeutics. Studies have shown the ability of OCT to detect arterial structures and assist in the determination of different histological constituents. Its capacity to distinguish different grades of atherosclerotic changes and the various types of plaques, as compared to histology, has recently been demonstrated with acceptable intra-observer and inter-observer correlations for these findings. OCT provides unrivaled real-time in vivo endovascular resolution, which has been exploited to assess the vascular structures and response to device deployment. While depth remains a limitation for OCT plaque characterization beyond 2-mm, near-histological resolution can be achieved within the first millimeter of the vessel wall allowing unique assessment of fibrous cap characteristics and thickness. In addition, assessment of neointimal coverage, para-strut tissue patterns and stent apposition can now be scrutinized for individual struts on the micron scale, the so-called strut-level analysis. OCT has propelled intravascular imaging into micron-level in vivo vascular analysis and is expected to soon become a valuable and indispensable tool for the cardiologists on both clinical and research applications.
Arquivos brasileiros de cardiologia 02/2010; 94(2):250-4, 268-72, 254-9. · 1.32 Impact Factor