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Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2010 Dec;26(8):843-50. doi: 10.1007/s10554-010-9631-2. Epub 2010 Apr 16.

Combined optical coherence tomography and intravascular ultrasound radio frequency data analysis for plaque characterization. Classification accuracy of human coronary plaques in vitro.

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  • 1Thorax Center Biomedical Engineering, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


This study was performed to characterize coronary plaque types by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) radiofrequency (RF) data analysis, and to investigate the possibility of error reduction by combining these techniques. Intracoronary imaging methods have greatly enhanced the diagnostic capabilities for the detection of high-risk atherosclerotic plaques. IVUS RF data analysis and OCT are two techniques focusing on plaque morphology and composition. Regions of interest were selected and imaged with OCT and IVUS in 50 sections, from 14 human coronary arteries, sectioned post-mortem from 14 hearts of patients dying of non-cardiovascular causes. Plaques were classified based on IVUS RF data analysis (VH-IVUS(TM)), OCT and the combination of those. Histology was the benchmark. Imaging with both modalities and coregistered histology was successful in 36 sections. OCT correctly classified 24; VH-IVUS 25, and VH-IVUS/OCT combined, 27 out of 36 cross-sections. Systematic misclassifications in OCT were intimal thickening classified as fibroatheroma in 8 cross-sections. Misclassifications in VH-IVUS were mainly fibroatheroma as intimal thickening in 5 cross-sections. Typical image artifacts were found to affect the interpretation of OCT data, misclassifying intimal thickening as fibroatheroma or thin-cap fibroatheroma. Adding VH-IVUS to OCT reduced the error rate in this study.

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