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Optical Coherence Tomography in Cardiovascular Research

Given that for centuries, the standard tool to understand diseases in tissues was the microscope and that its major limitation was that only excised tissue could be used, recent technology now permits the examination of diseased tissue in vivo. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has promising potential when applied to coronary artery disease. OCT has the capability to identify coronary plaque and to distinguish between plaques that are stable and unstable. If the plaques are stable then OCT can direct percutaneous intervention (angioplasty or stenting). Optical coherence tomography is a light-based imaging technology that allows for very high resolution imaging in biological tissues. It has been first applied in ophthalmology, where it soon became the golden standard for the assessment of (epi-) retinal processes. The unique imaging capabilities have raised the interest of researchers and clinicians in the field of cardiovascular disease, since OCT offers unique possibilities to study atherosclerosis pathophysiology in vivo. With over 1.1M Americans having a heart attack this year because of unstable plaque rupture, OCT may have an increasingly important role in the early diagnosis of coronary artery disease. This unique publication offers the reader the basic background to OCT and its role in the diagnosis and management of coronary artery disease. The Handbook of Optical Coherence Tomography in Cardiovascular Research introduces the cardiovascular application of this technology. Clinicians, biologists, engineers and physicist are discussing different aspects of cardiovascular OCT application in a multidisciplinary approach. The handbook offers the readership a concise overview on the current state of the art of vascular OCT imaging and sheds light on a variety of exciting new developments. The physics, technical principles of OCT and its application in a broad spectrum of cardiovascular research areas are summarized by highly recognized specialists. The potential of OCT in peripheral and coronary arteries and in developmental cardiology are described. Each research area is introduced by a clinical expert in the field followed by discussion of different aspects from an engineering, biomedical and clinical perspective. Specifically, the current capabilities for plaque characterization, detection of vulnerable plaque, guidance of interventional procedures, Doppler-assessment, and molecular contrast imaging are being described. The Handbook of Optical Coherence Tomography in Cardiovascular Research targets researchers and clinicians involved in the field of atherosclerosis. The summary of basic physics, engineering solutions, pre-clinical and clinical application covers all relevant aspects and will be a valuable reference source.