OCT and Cardiology


OCT and Cardiology

OCT and Cardiology

Optical Coherence Tomography or OCT is the latest cutting edge medical science tool, used in diagnostic imaging. This technique essentially uses light in order to capture micrometer resolution, two and three dimensional images from within biological tissue. The procedure has the twin advantages of being perfectly safe and minimally invasive. Additionally, the images that are obtained are highly sophisticated and can be used for extremely accurate diagnostics in a number of medical fields.

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What is OCT

OCT is the process of using light to obtain sub-surface images. These images are the same resolution as those that can be obtained from a low-power microscope. The light images reflections from within living tissue to provide cross-sectional images. The main reason for interest in this technology is that the images obtained are a much higher resolution than those from other imaging modalities like ultrasounds and MRIs.

The high resolution of the images is due to the fact that OCT uses light rather than sound or radio waves to form images. The optical beam is directed at biological tissue and a small portion of this light that reflects from features under the surface is collected. A technique called interferometry is then used to record the optical path length of received photons. This technique allows for the rejection of photon that scatter multiple times before detection. This allows the building of 3D images using Optical Coherence Tomography.

Benefits of OCT

The main benefits of Optical Coherence Tomography are:

  • Live sub-surface images at near-microscopic resolution Using this technology, images can be recorded that are clearer and more detailed than those which can be obtained using other imaging methods like MRIs and/or ultrasounds.
  • Instant, direct imaging of tissue morphology OCT allows diagnosticians and doctors to understand not only the image of the tissue, but also its composition, enabling them to determine whether buildups like plaque are hardened or fatty.
  • No preparation of the sample or subject This technique can be used on anyone without prior preparation or the injection of any radioactive dyes etc, such as are often used in other imaging techniques.
  • No ionizing radiation The rays of light that are used are optically safe, near infra-red light which means that there is no damage to the patient. The technique, unlike diagnostic tools like CT scans and Xrays does not make use of ionizing radiation to obtain the images.

Optical Coherence Tomography has a range of use in various medical and non-medical fields. As of now it is primarily being used in the fields of ophthalmology and cardiology although it has also proven effective in other areas like dermatology.

Holy Family Hospital is at the forefront of this revolutionary way in which to safely and accurately diagnose cardiac patients and is currently the only hospital in the city of Mumbai to be using OCT in their diagnostics and cardiology divisions.

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