Angiography has been the cornerstone tool to assess coronary anatomy, leading to a rapid development of
percutaneous revascularization techniques. Despite the widespread dissemination and high reproducibility, angiography
alone can only provide a limited analysis of the lumen profile, without the possibility to disclose vessel wall
characteristics and the composition of coronary lesions. Intracoronary imaging techniques have been developed to
overcome these limitations. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) was the first intracoronary imaging modality introduced two
decades before, followed more than a decade after by optical coherence tomography (OCT), a light based technology.
This article presents the current status in the technical background of OCT imaging in the areas of research development
and clinical practice, focusing on future developments of related patent forms.
Keywords: Coronary arteries, coronary atherosclerosis, coronary plaque, optical coherence tomography, thin-cap
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