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Acad Radiol. 1995 Jul;2(7):618-25.

Effects of a modified Q-switched Nd-YAG laser on human vascular tissue: an ex vivo study.

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Institut National de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 275, L.O.A.-E.N.S.T.A., Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France.



Relatively disappointing results with continuous-wave lasers stimulated us to evaluate pulsed lasers for interventional radiology. In this article, we describe our efforts to assess the effects of this technology ex vivo.


We modified a Q-switched yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd-YAG) laser to emit pulses of 300 mJ maximum with a 20-Hz repetition rate, at 1064 nm, and with a duration that ranged from 300 ns to 2.3 microseconds. The lengthening of the pulse duration by a factor of 100 (compared with the conventional nanosecond Q-switched Nd-YAG laser) and the ability to define it exactly were obtained by controlling the opening and closing of the Pockels cell electronically. Lengthening the pulse duration made it possible to reduce peak power while conserving the same total energy. In this way, high energy was transmitted through thin optical fibers.


One hundred fifty millijoules with 2-microsecond pulses, 140 mJ with 1-microsecond pulses, and 100 mJ with 500-ns pulses were transmitted through a 300-micron silica-polymer fiber. The transmission coefficient was identical for the three pulse durations. Ex vivo irradiation experiments were performed on human atheromatous arteries in saline solution using a 300-micron diameter optical fiber. Craters were easily obtained. Their depth and width were related to maximum energy transmission and irradiation time. No carbonization occurred and no destruction of the optical fiber was observed.


A modified Q-switched Nd-YAG laser can transmit high-energy pulses through thin optical fibers without damaging them and can destroy human atheroma in an ex vivo setting.

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