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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 312978, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/312978
Review Article

Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging in Acute Coronary Syndromes

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, 811-1 Kimiidera, Wakayama 641-8510, Japan

Received 2 June 2011; Accepted 25 July 2011

Academic Editor: Robin Nijveldt

Copyright © 2011 Takashi Kubo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a high-resolution imaging technique that offers microscopic visualization of coronary plaques. The clear and detailed images of OCT generate an intense interest in adopting this technique for both clinical and research purposes. Recent studies have shown that OCT is useful for the assessment of coronary atherosclerotic plaques, in particular the assessment of plaque rupture, erosion, and intracoronary thrombus in patients with acute coronary syndrome. In addition, OCT may enable identifying thin-cap fibroatheroma, the proliferation of vasa vasorum, and the distribution of macrophages surrounding vulnerable plaques. With its ability to view atherosclerotic lesions in vivo with such high resolution, OCT provides cardiologists with the tool they need to better understand the thrombosis-prone vulnerable plaques and acute coronary syndromes. This paper reviews the possibility of OCT for identification of vulnerable plaques in vivo.