, Volume 127, Issue 5, pp 991-996
Date: 28 Feb 2013

Coronary optical coherence tomography: minimally invasive virtual histology as part of targeted post-mortem computed tomography angiography

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Social, cultural and practical barriers to conventional invasive autopsy have led to considerable interest in the development of minimally invasive radiological techniques as an alternative to the invasive autopsy for determining the cause of death. Critical to accurate diagnosis in this context is detailed examination of coronary anatomy and pathology. Current computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging approaches have significantly advanced minimally invasive autopsy practice but have limited spatial resolution. This prohibits assessment at a microscopic level, meaning that histological assessment is still required for detailed analysis of, for example, coronary plaque rupture or dissection. Coronary optical coherence tomography (OCT) is used in the living during percutaneous coronary interventions to provide high-resolution coronary imaging, but this technique for obtaining virtual histology has not, to date, been translated into minimally invasive autopsy practice. We present a first description of minimally invasive post-mortem coronary OCT and discuss the potential for this technique to advance current practice.

D. Adlam, B.Morgan and G.Rutty contributed equally to this paper.