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J Biomed Opt. 2011 Sep;16(9):096007. doi: 10.1117/1.3622491.

Rotationally acquired four-dimensional optical coherence tomography of embryonic chick hearts using retrospective gating on the common central A-scan.

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  • 1Hannover Medical School, Pediatric Cardiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, Hannover, 30625, Germany.


We introduce a new method of rotational image acquisition for four-dimensional (4D) optical coherence tomography (OCT) of beating embryonic chick hearts. The rotational axis and the central A-scan of the OCT are identical. An out-of-phase image sequence covering multiple heartbeats is acquired at every angle of an incremental rotation of the deflection mirrors of the OCT system. Image acquisition is accomplished after a rotation of 180°. Comparison of a displayed live M-mode of the central A-scan with a reference M-mode allows instant detection of translational movements of the embryo. For calculation of 4D data sets, we apply an image-based retrospective gating algorithm using the phase information of the common central A-scan present in all acquired images. This leads to cylindrical three-dimensional data sets for every time step of the cardiac cycle that can be used for 4D visualization. We demonstrate this approach and provide a video of a beating Hamburger and Hamilton stage 16 embryonic chick heart generated from a 4D OCT data set using rotational image acquisition.

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