Laser based camera helps determine risky plagues

Many people around the world die due to heart attacks and strokes that usually come without any warning. Recently, through collaboration among scientists of University of Michigan and University of Washington a solution has been invented for this. The research team has come up with a novel application of a medical camera that can someday assist physicians to determine who is at risk for a cardiovascular event by offering a better sight of likely problem regions.

The technology depends on delivering a small camera into the lumen of a vessel and light up the plagues with the aid of green, blue, and red lasers. The scanning fiber endoscope was initially invented by Eric Seibel at the University of Washington for visualization of cancer cells. But the multi-modal imaging and small size of the device warranted verifying its potential in the interior of the vessels. The device is capable of providing a structural examination of lesions that have the potential to cause heart attacks and strokes. The device can also evaluate whether a vessel requires stenting. Hence, this technology has a probability to be used in guided targeted drug delivery and help physicians to perform vascular procedures.

The researchers produced pictures of human arteries with the use of scanning fiber endoscope, which lights up tissues with several laser beams, and digitally recreates high-clarity images to find out the seriousness of atherosclerosis and other vessel wall qualities. B. Gregory Thompson, M.D., said, “The capability to recognize and examine the biological markers that make a plaque unstable and has a possibility of rupturing can make the detection possible of the people who are at a highest probability of suffering from cardiovascular events, and thus can benefit by getting appropriate precautionary treatment at the asymptomatic stage.”

The imaging system has the potential of providing high-resolutions three-dimensional images, without depending on biochemical labels or contrast agents, of plagues instantly at 30 Hz. The trial conducted on animals demonstrated that device can offer high-quality images vessels that are mid-sized and further classify the plagues according to their level of risk.

This device can provide new insights in preventing strokes and heart attacks.

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