Application of the Laguerre Deconvolution Method for Time-Resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy to the Characterization of Atherosclerotic Plaques
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This study investigates the ability of time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy (TR-LIFS) to detect inflammation in atherosclerotic lesion, a key feature of plaque vulnerability. A total of 348 TR-LIFS measurements were taken from carotid plaques of 30 patients, and subsequently analyzed using the Laguerre deconvolution technique. The investigated spots were classified as Early, Fibrotic/Calcified or Inflamed lesions. A stepwise linear discriminant analysis algorithm was developed using spectral and TR features (normalized intensity values and Laguerre expansion coefficients at discrete emission wavelengths, respectively). Features from only three emission wavelengths (390, 450 and 500 nm) were used in the classifier. The Inflamed lesions were discriminated with sensitivity > 80% and specificity > 90 %, when the Laguerre expansion coefficients were included in the feature space. These results indicate that TR-LIFS information derived from the Laguerre expansion coefficients at few selected emission wavelengths can discriminate inflammation in atherosclerotic plaques. We believe that TR-LIFS derived Laguerre expansion coefficients can provide a valuable additional dimension for the detection of vulnerable plaques.