Characterizing vascular anatomy.

Among other changes in anatomy and physiology, indications such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD) result in characteristic deformation of vessels. In cancer research, a particular area of interest is angiogenesis, describing the tumor's ability to induce new vessel formation.

MSOT enables the cross-sectional and volumetric visualization of blood vessels without the use of exogenous contrast agents, thereby enabling the analysis of changes in vascular formation and anatomy.

Vascular features in small animal MSOT imaging

Cross-section of a mouse shows vasculature in the kidneys (K), spleen (SP), spine (S) as well as the vena cava (VC) and aorta (A). Image is color-coded for different frequency bands, highlighting smaller structures (associated with higher acoustic frequencies) in green, larger structures (associated with lower acoustic frequencies) in red, and yellow as an overlay of the two.

Comparing MSOT with ultrasound for imaging microvasculature

The ability of MSOT to detect oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin enables functional oxygenation measurments and the visualization of perfused regions. The figure below shows an example from a clinical feasibility study in healthy volunteers using a concave 8 MHz handheld probe for optoacoustic imaging of human vasculature. Whereas traditional Doppler sonography can provide measures of perfusion (i.e. flow velocities) to provide an indirect metric of blood supply to tissues, MSOT can directly assess oxygenation, even in small vessels that are invisible in Doppler sonography.

A: In the left columns, MSOT images are shown in which oxyhemoglobin signal (red) is superimposed on single wavelength (830 nm) images (grey); images in the right columns are Doppler ultrasound images. The skin is at the top of the image so that MSOT and US images are approximately aligned. MSOT images were acquired with an arc-shaped 8 MHz probe.
B
: The zoom-in shows that MSOT can visualize microvasculature at least down to a diameter of 90 μm.

Taruttis A et al., Optoacoustic Imaging of Human Vasculature: Feasibility by Using a Handheld Probe, Radiology. 2016 Jul 4:152160. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2016152160.

Video-rate 3D imaging of palm vasculature

Imaging of the palm of a healthy volunteer shows vasculature in real time, without the need for applying contrast agents. Imaging was performed using a handheld 10 MHz probe with a hemispherical geometry, offering an isotropic resolution of 80 µm and a maximum depth penetration of 1 cm.

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