Improved methods are needed to identify the vulnerable coronary plaques responsible for acute myocardial infraction or sudden cardiac death. We describe a method for characterizing the structure and biomechanical properties of atherosclerotic plaques based on speckle pattern fluctuations. Near-field speckle images were acquired from five human aortic specimens <i>ex</i> vivo. The speckle decorrelation time constant varied significantly for vulnerable aortic plaques (τ=40 ms) versus stable plaques (τ=400 ms) and normal aorta (τ=500 ms) . These initial results indicate that different atherosclerotic plaque types may be distinguished by analysis of temporal and spatial speckle pattern fluctuations.
© 2002 Optical Society of America
(030.6140) Coherence and statistical optics : Speckle
(170.0170) Medical optics and biotechnology : Medical optics and biotechnology
(170.4580) Medical optics and biotechnology : Optical diagnostics for medicine
Guillermo J. Tearney and Brett E. Bouma, "Atherosclerotic plaque characterization by spatial and temporal speckle pattern analysis," Opt. Lett. 27, 533-535 (2002)