The University of Maryland Medical Center is using a new technique -- known as Optical Coherence Tomography – that uses infrared light to determine the quality of the blood vessels used to create bypass grafts during coronary artery bypass surgery. This technique also provides important feedback to the surgical team about the quality of the connection between the vein and the coronary artery.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a novel imaging tool that allows the surgeon to see inside blood vessels like never before. It works in much the same way as ultrasound except that it uses infrared light instead of sound waves.
The advantage of OCT is that it has much better resolution than other imaging methods, which allows the surgeon to see the interior of blood vessels with the same amount of detail that could be seen under a microscope. Imagine the detail and crystal-clear picture you can see on a brand-new, high-definition television compared to an old set with rabbit ears – this is equivalent to the superior image that OCT can provide.
The OCT procedure is very safe and is done by inserting a very thin (about the thickness of your fingernail) imaging wire into an artery or vein. The tip of this wire picks up an image of the inside of the vessel and sends it to a video monitor nearby, where the surgeon can see it. This information provides important feedback about the health of the vessel being examined.
OCT is produced by LightLab Imaging Inc.
|These cross-sectional still images were captured from an OCT imaging scan done on an actual patient undergoing CABG surgery here at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The distinct tissue layers that make up the vessel walls can be easily resolved as if you were looking at them under a miscoscope. Note the appearance of the one-way flow valve that is normally present within your veins.|