We have developed an intravascular thermography basket catheter to measure the temperature of the vessel wall to locate foci of inflammation. Our 3 Fr thermography basket catheter is a thermocouple-based catheter made of a nitinol expandable and externally controllable basket system loaded with nine small and flexible built-in thermosensors. It is equipped with real-time data acquisition software with a thermal resolution of 0.0001 degrees C and a sampling rate of 20 readings per second. In 10 inbred cholesterol-fed dogs with femoral (but not carotid) atherosclerosis, we found foci of warmth on the surface of atherosclerotic but not disease-free regions (P < 0.05). Marked temperature heterogeneity was also observed in the aortas of atherosclerotic Watanabe rabbits but not in normal rabbits. The catheters showed satisfactory accuracy, reproducibility, and safety. If confirmed in further studies, it has the potential to be utilized in detection of vulnerable plaques.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.