Raman spectroscopy for label-free identification of calciphylaxis

J Biomed Opt. 2015 Aug;20(8):80501. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.20.8.080501.


Calciphylaxis is a painful, debilitating, and premorbid condition, which presents as calcified vasculature and soft tissues. Traditional diagnosis of calciphylaxis lesions requires an invasive biopsy, which is destructive, time consuming, and often leads to exacerbation of the condition and infection. Furthermore, it is difficult to find small calcifications within a large wound bed. To address this need, a noninvasive diagnostic tool may help clinicians identify ectopic calcified mineral and determine the disease margin. We propose Raman spectroscopy as a rapid, point-of-care, noninvasive, and label-free technology to detect calciphylaxis mineral. Debrided calciphylactic tissue was collected from six patients and assessed by microcomputed tomography (micro-CT). Micro-CT confirmed extensive deposits in three specimens, which were subsequently examined with Raman spectroscopy. Raman spectra confirmed that deposits were consistent with carbonated apatite, consistent with the literature. Raman spectroscopy shows potential as a noninvasive technique to detect calciphylaxis in a clinical environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apatites / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Calciphylaxis / diagnosis*
  • Calciphylaxis / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman / methods*
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Apatites
  • Biomarkers
  • Calcium