Aims: Qualitative criteria for plaque tissue characterisation by OCT are well established, but quantitative methods lack systematic validation in vivo. High optical attenuation coefficient μt has been associated with unstable plaque features, such as lipid core. The purpose of this study was to validate optical coherence tomography (OCT) attenuation imaging for tissue characterisation in vivo, specifically to detect lipid core in coronary atherosclerotic plaques, and to evaluate quantitatively the ability of OCT attenuation imaging to differentiate thin-cap (TCFA) and thick-cap fibroatheroma (FA). Methods and results: We prospectively enrolled 85 patients undergoing imaging of a native coronary segment by both OCT and near-infrared spectroscopy and intravascular ultrasound (NIRS-IVUS). Ninetyeight NIRS-positive 4 mm plaque segments were selected and matched to the OCT data. Two experienced OCT readers classified the plaque type using OCT criteria. A cap thickness of 65 μm was used to differentiate TCFA and FA. We computed an index of plaque attenuation (IPA) in the 4 mm blocks, and assessed the association of this index with plaque type. IPA differentiated between TCFA and FA (AUC=0.82 in ROC analysis; p<0.0001). LCBI was numerically, but not significantly, higher in TCFA compared to FA (p=0.097). Conclusions: IPA is an unbiased reproducible measure of tissue optical properties. The fraction of pixels with attenuation coefficient ≥11 mm-1 can identify TCFA.

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Netherlands Institute for Health Science (NIHES)

Gnanadesigan, M., Kameyama, T. (Takeyoshi), Karanasos, A., van Ditzhuijzen, N., van der Sijde, J., van Geuns, R. J., … Akasaka, T. (2016). Automated characterisation of lipid core plaques in vivo by quantitative optical coherence tomography tissue type imaging. EuroIntervention, 12(12), 1490–1497. doi:10.4244/EIJ-D-15-00320