Objectives : A new deconvolution method for the analysis of time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (TR-LIFS) data is introduced and applied for tissue diagnosis.
Method : The intrinsic TR-LIFS decays are expanded on a Laguerre basis, and the computed Laguerre expansion coefficients (LEC) are used to characterize the sample fluorescence emission. The method was applied for the diagnosis of atherosclerotic vulnerable plaques.
Results : At a first stage, using a rabbit atherosclerotic model, 73 TR-LIFS in-vivo measurements from the normal and atherosclerotic aorta segments of eight rabbits were taken. The Laguerre deconvolution technique was able to accurately deconvolve the TR-LIFS measurements. More interesting, the LEC reflected the changes in the arterial biochemical composition and provided discrimination of lesions rich in macrophages/foamcells with high sensitivity (> 85%) and specificity (> 95%). At a second stage, 348 TR-LIFS measurements were obtained from the explanted carotid arteries of 30 patients. Lesions with significant inflammatory cells (macrophages/foam-cells and lymphocytes) were detected with high sensitivity (> 80%) and specificity (> 90%), using LEC-based classifiers.
Conclusion : This study has demonstrated the potential of using TR-LIFS information by means of LEC for in- vivo tissue diagnosis, and specifically for detecting inflammation in atherosclerotic lesions, a key marker of plaque vulnerability.