CRC - Optical Coherence Tomography in Cardiovascular Research

Organization: CRC
Publication Date: 6 March 2007
Page Count: 356

Over the past decade, optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology has experienced a tremendous development. Its unique capability to visualize biological tissue in vivo at very high resolution, even beyond the cellular level, as well as a variety of possibilities for signal processing has stimulated researchers from many different disciplines. OCT has successfully entered the medical area in the field of ophthalmology, where it soon became an established clinical tool. Preliminary clinical studies have been initiated in other clinical specialities, such as gastroenterology, gynecology and dermatology.

Atherosclerosis is the major cause for morbidity and mortality in Western-civilizations. As a systemic disease it affects such different organs as the brain, heart, kidneys and peripheral vessels. The presentation of the disease is two-fold, with a chronic progressive component and sudden life-threatening events such as acute coronary syndrome or stroke. Diagnosis and therapeutic interventions rely on medical imaging. The unique imaging capabilities of OCT may offer new ways for the analysis of the disease, the understanding of acute events and therapy. The cardiovascular application of OCT represents a relatively new and challenging task, as the sample volume is not directly accessible and imaging is principally hampered by the presence of blood.

We are pleased to present this handbook dedicated to the application of OCT in cardiovascular research. In a unique approach, it summarizes the current applications and state-of-the-art developments of OCT in different disciplines. Knowledge from basic science, such as molecular biology and chemistry, engineering and preclinical and clinical research is presented in a concise way.

Each section is introduced by a general overview from a recognized expert in the field, outlining the scope of the problem, followed by several chapters addressing specific issues in detail. This structure enables the reader to gain a rapid general understanding as well as specific information on the different aspects of cardiovascular OCT application.

The first section discusses the basic principles and physics of the OCT technology. The second section summarizes the current possibilities in cardiovascular application and addresses specifically the possibilities for coronary plaque characterization, the assessment of vulnerable plaque, the analysis of therapeutic interventions and the guidance of complex procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention of chronic total occlusions. The third section is dedicated to future developments including advanced signal analysis, molecular contrast imaging and OCT Doppler.

The OCT in Cardiovascular Research provides biologists, physicians and cardiologists insights into the technical possibilities of advanced OCT signal processing, and offers present and future options for qualitative, quantitative, morphometric and functional analysis. It provides basic scientists and engineers with insights into the needs of applied science in the specific setting of clinical research.

It is our hope that the OCT in Cardiovascular Research will prove useful to the medical community, in its effort to serve as a comprehensive guide to understanding many complexities of OCT imaging and its role in cardiovascular research. As an instructional tool, the handbook will help to enhance diagnostic capabilities, prevention and therapeutic strategies in our collective efforts to reduce the morbidity and mortality in our patients with cardiovascular disease. We hope that this book may serve as a guide and inspire atherosclerosis researchers to intensively use and further challenge the fascinating potential of OCT.