Semi-quantitative analysis of atherosclerotic plaque using optical coherence tomography and Time-of-Flight secondary ion mass spectrometry

Renee Korol, Babajide Togonu-Bikersteth, Victor Yang, Stamen Dimov, Pracha Vatsya, Maggie Gordon, Alex Vitkin, Li Ying Liu, Peter Canham, Sharon Clarke, Alexandra Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Atherosclerosis is the underlying vascular pathology that initiates arterial thromboembolic occlusions (myocardial infarctions, strokes and peripheral vessel blockage). Two imaging modalities, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), were investigated for detection and compositional analysis of unstable plaque associated with plaque erosion and sudden occlusion. OCT produces high resolution images whereas mass spectrometry images provide information on the spatial distribution of chemical elements. Diseased carotid arteries taken from patients with high-risk lesions were imaged with OCT and ToF-SIMS to give molecular and metabolic information, and matched with histopathology. OCT results show clear indications of vascular remodeling by the presence of fatty acid deposits, fibrous tissue and calcifications. ToF-SIMS further characterized changes based on secondary ion topography analysis where a high 23Na/39K ratio was indicative of arterial tissue degradation and the amount of 40Ca corresponded with late stage atherosclerosis. This pilot experiment has demonstrated that in vitro OCT imaging and ToF-SIMS of diseased carotid arteries have scientific merit for targeting clinically relevant morphology and metabolic changes to compare stable and unstable plaque. These optical techniques provide complimentary metabolic and molecular information on unstable plaque, specifically cell break-down with altered ion ratios of 23Na, 39K and 40Ca.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-220
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Techniques - Munich, Germany
Duration: Jun 22 2003Jun 24 2003


  • Atherosclerosis
  • OCT
  • Plaque morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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