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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2002 October;50(5):497-506

language: English

The comparison between optical coherence tomography and intravascular ultrasound

Mac Neill B. D., Hayase M., Jang I.-K.


Coronary angiography, despite its long history, has well recognized limitations, arising in part from the inability to image a three dimensional structure in a single plane. Furthermore the angiographic image of the arterial lumen conceals atherosclerotic processes that occur within the arterial wall. Alternative imaging techniques have evolved as an adjunct to angiography in an attempt to overcome these limitations. Two such invasive techniques are intravascular ultrasound and optical coherence tomography. Intravascular ultrasound allows tomographic imaging of long segments of the coronary tree, highlighting the arterial lumen as well as the arterial wall. Over the last 13 years intravascular ultrasound has enhanced our understanding of the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, and the mechanisms involved in coronary intervention. Optical coherence tomography is an optical analogue of intravascular ultrasound that has recently reached coronary application. Its superior resolution results in improved diagnostic potential, particularly for vulnerable plaque in which the thin fibrous cap often measures 10-50 mm. The similarities, contrasts and applications of these two imaging techniques in terms of design, image interpretation, and future directions forms the subject of this review.

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