Detecting and evaluating vulnerable artery plaque with handheld photoacoustic imaging system

Kazuma Shiotani, Takeshi Namita, Kengo Kondo, Makoto Yamakawa, Tsuyoshi Shiina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Aortic atherosclerotic plaque rupture can cause cerebral and cardiac infarction. Detecting lipid-rich vulnerable plaque early is important to prevent plaque rupture. However, using conventional modalities to evaluate such plaques is difficult. Photoacoustic imaging can elucidate tissue characteristics. Some lipid-rich plaque evaluations have used intravascular photoacoustic imaging systems. A handheld photoacoustic imaging system was developed to reduce invasiveness and to ease handling. Lipid-rich plaque detection capability was evaluated using phantom experiments. Mimic plaques (comprising oleic acid cholesterol and linoleic acid cholesterol) are embedded into a silicone tube. The silicone tube is filled with ovine blood. These objects were fixed in a water with black ink and biological tissue (chicken breast). For observation, laser light is guided to the model phantom surface by an optical fiber bundle close to the linear ultrasound probe. The photoacoustic signal distributions are then recorded as photoacoustic images. The photoacoustic images, obtained for which wavelengths where lipid light absorbance is high, show strong photoacoustic signals from the mimic plaque at a depth of human carotid artery. At wavelengths of 1150-1300 nm, similarity between photoacoustic spectra and the absorption spectrum of lipid was evaluated by calculating the correlation coefficient in photoacoustic images. Results show high correlation at the mimic plaque. Results demonstrate that the detection of lipid-rich plaque can be done, even optical properties (e.g. scattering coefficient and absorption coefficient) of the surrounding tissue were inhomogeneous. Future studies must conduct in vivo experiments and examine optimization to improve SNR.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Ultrasound
Subtitle of host publicationImaging and Sensing 2021
EditorsAlexander A. Oraevsky, Lihong V. Wang
ISBN (Electronic)9781510641198
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 2021 Mar 62021 Mar 11

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferencePhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • atherosclerotic plaque detection
  • biological tissue
  • cardiac infraction
  • cerebral infarction
  • handheld optoacoustic system
  • photoacoustic spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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