Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) combines the advantages of OCT with image contrast enhancement, which is based on its ability to detect phase retardation and the fast-axis angle. Both PS-OCT images and histopathology have demonstrated similar features that allowed differentiation of atherosclerotic structures (i.e., plaques) from normal tissue. Moreover, the picrosirius polarization method was used to confirm PS-OCT assessment of collagen in the fibrous cap of atherosclerotic plaques, and high-frequency (40 MHz) ultrasound images were used to identify calcium in the vessel wall. Our preliminary ex vivo investigation of human aortic specimens indicated that PS-OCT might help to identify atherosclerotic lesions.
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