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J Interv Cardiol. 2003 Jun;16(3):243-52.

Detection of high-risk atherosclerotic coronary plaques by intravascular spectroscopy.

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  • 1Linda and Jack Gill Heart Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.


Multiple technologies are under development to identify plaque composition and vulnerability. This review article is intended to provide basic knowledge to the interventional cardiologist and the clinician about spectroscopy. The concept of light, the wavelength unit and the electromagnetic spectrum are discussed. Different types of spectra analysis including nuclear magnetic resonance, Raman, fluorescence and diffuse reflectance near-infrared spectroscopy are then carefully reviewed. Experimental data to identify atherosclerotic plaque composition for each of these techniques is provided. Potential benefits and challenges are addressed. Finally, diffuse reflectance near-infrared spectroscopy is discussed in more detail as a promising technique to characterize plaque vulnerability in humans.

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