What have We Learned about the Atherosclerotic Plaque Using Laser Radiation?
The development of percutaneous transluminal angioplasty has been a milestone in the treatment of peripheral vascular disease (1). Nevertheless the procedure has some major limitations: 1) Inability to cross severe occlusion; 2) a 25%–50% restenosis rate at two years (2); 3) scant success in diffuse atherosclerotic arteries. The ability to ablate atherosclerotic plaques without damaging the vessel wall was the “dream” of the first pioneers who first used laser radiation in the cardiovascular field. Extensive experimental and human clinical studies have been performed in the last ten years to evaluate the effect of laser radiation on the plaque. As a consequence our knowledge of the optical, thermal and several other properties of the normal and diseased vessel wall has increased greatly. Some of these new developments are considered in order to understand better the behavior of atherosclerotic plaque during laser application and to begin to evaluate the possible uses of this powerful tool to alter and to measure components of the artery wall lesions using exogenous fluorescence.
KeywordsAtherosclerotic Plaque Excimer Laser Calcify Plaque Laser Angioplasty Interventional Radiological Society
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