OPTICAL COHERENCE TOMOGRAPHY/CARDIOLOGY: High-speed OCT imaging and analysis aims to boost treatment for ischemic heart disease

A $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is helping researchers optimize optical coherence tomography (OCT) to improve the application of stents for patients with ischemic heart disease. By giving cardiologists a view of stents they've not previously had, researchers at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center (both in Cleveland, OH) hope to enhance treatment and increase survival rates.

David Wilson, professor of biomedical engineering and radiology, is developing software to quantitatively analyze every detail of up to 500 OCT stent images within minutes. Currently, such analysis takes a trained doctor 8–15 hrs; the software Wilson is developing also aims to eliminate analysis variability. OCT expert Andrew Rollins, a professor of biomedical engineering, is helping the team tailor the software to recognize plaques and identify those likely to rupture.

The rapid return of information would allow cardiologists to determine whether a stent is working as intended, if more stents are needed, or whether a stent has failed or looks problematic. In addition to clinical practice, the technology will also be used to guide research and development of new stent designs.

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