Diagnosis of Vulnerable Atherosclerotic Plaques by Time-Resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Ultrasound Imaging
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In this study, time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (TR-LIFS) and ultrasonography were applied to detect vulnerable (high-risk) atherosclerotic plaque. A total of 813 TR-LIFS measurements were taken from carotid plaques of 65 patients, and subsequently analyzed using the Laguerre deconvolution technique. The investigated spots were classified by histopathology as thin, fibrotic, calcified, low-inflamed, inflamed and necrotic lesions. Spectral and time-resolved parameters (normalized intensity values and Laguerre expansion coefficients) were extracted from the TR-LIFS data. Feature selection for classification was performed by either analysis of variance (ANOVA) or principal component analysis (PCA). A stepwise linear discriminant analysis algorithm was developed for detecting inflamed and necrotic lesion, representing the most vulnerable plaques. These vulnerable plaques were detected with high sensitivity (>80%) and specificity (>90%). Ultrasound (US) imaging was obtained in 4 carotid plaques in addition to TR-LIFS examination. Preliminary results indicate that US provides important structural information of the plaques that could be combined with the compositional information obtained by TR-LIFS, to obtain a more accurate diagnosis of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque.
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