Near infrared spectroscopy may help predict and prevent heart attacks

July 24, 2013
Using a near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy system with a special coronary catheter, researchers from Spectrum Health were able to identify heart-attack causing arterial plaque in live patients, a development that may help to prevent future heart attacks in high risk patients.

Researchers fromSpectrum Health’s Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute used a near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy system with a special coronary catheter to identify heart-attack causing arterial plaque in the first study of its kind using live patients.

Previous autopsies have indicated that most major heart attacks called ST-segment elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMI) are caused by the rupture of lipid core plaque. Researchers used the NIR system, called theTVC Imaging System, to measure cholesterol in the plaques of 20 patients experiencing STEMIs after blood flow was reestablished, but prior to when a stent was put in to keep the artery open, according to the Spectrum Health news release.

The TVC Imaging System, which is developed byInfrardx, Inc. uses both NIR spectroscopy and intravascular ultrasound imaging technology to assess vessel composition and structure to identify the signature of lipid core plaques during heart attacks in live patients. The system had been in over 3,000 patients prior to the study, but this was the first time it was used in STEMI patients, according to a Medical Daily article.

With the newly identified signature of the plaques that cause heart attacks, physicians at Spectrum Health are hoping to continue their research of arteries narrowed with LCP. Specifically, Ryan Madder, MD, a Spectrum Health interventional cardiologist and principal investigator of the study, wants to use it to predict and prevent future heart attacks in patients with significant deposits of LCP.

“This signature is detectable at the time of cardiac catheterization using a novel intracoronary imaging device. It is our hope that this signature may be capable of predicting a myocardial infarction before it happens,” he said.”

View theSpectrum Health news release.

View more information on theTVC Imaging System.

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About the Author

James Carroll

Since joining the team 2013, James covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles for each issue of the magazine, James managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.

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