In the first study of its kind, Johns Hopkins researchers provide evidence that an alternative imaging technique could someday replace current methods that require potentially harmful radiation.
The findings, published in the April issue of IEEE Transactions in Medical Imaging , detail success in a heart procedure but can potentially be applied to any procedure that uses a catheter, such as in vitro fertilization, or surgeries using the da Vinci robot, where clinicians need a clearer view of large vessels.
This is the first time anyone has shown that photoacoustic imaging can be performed in a live animal heart with anatomy and size similar to that of humans. The results are highly promising for future iterations of this technology." Muyinatu Bell, Study Senior Author and Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University Bell is also the director of the Photoacoustic & Ultrasonic Systems Engineering (PULSE) Lab.
Bell's team of PULSE Lab members and cardiologist collaborators tested the technology during a cardiac intervention, a procedure in which a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into a vein or artery, then threaded up to the heart to diagnose and treat various heart diseases such as abnormal heartbeats.
Doctors currently most commonly use a technique called fluoroscopy, a sort of x-ray movie, that can only show the shadow of where the catheter tip is and doesn't provide detailed information about depth. Additionally, Bell adds, this current visualization technology requires ionizing radiation, which can be harmful to both the patient and the doctor.
Photoacoustic imaging, simply explained, is the use of light and sound to produce images. When energy from a pulsed laser lights up an area in the body, that light is absorbed by photoabsorbers within the tissue, such as the protein that carries oxygen in blood (hemoglobin), which results in a small temperature rise. Related Stories
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