Objective: A high-resolution coronary artery imaging modality has the potential to address important diagnostic and management problems in cardiology. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a promising new optical imaging technique with a resolution of approximately 10 microm. The purpose of this study was to use a new OCT catheter to demonstrate the feasibility of performing OCT imaging of normal coronary arteries, intimal dissections, and deployed stents in vivo.
Methods and results: Normal coronary arteries, intimal dissections, and stents were imaged in five swine with OCT and compared with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). In the normal coronary arteries, visualization of all of the layers of the vessel wall was achieved with a saline flush, including the intima which was not identified by IVUS. Following dissection, detailed layered structures including intimal flaps, intimal defects, and disruption of the medial wall were visualized by OCT. IVUS failed to show clear evidence of intimal and medial disruption. Finally, the microanatomic relationships between stents and the vessel walls were clearly identified only by OCT.
Conclusions: In this preliminary experiment, we have demonstrated that in vivo OCT imaging of normal coronary arteries, intimal dissections, and deployed stents is feasible, and allows identification of clinically relevant coronary artery morphology with high-resolution and contrast.