Abstract

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 ex 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

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