Seeing arteries from the inside out at Walker Heart Institute

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“OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography in practical terms it’s near infra-red light, which is able to look at the arteries of the heart from the inside out to determine in high-resolution pictures if there us any blockages or other problems that are associated with it.” Zubair Ahmed is an Interventional Cardiologist at Washington Regional’s Walker Heart Institute.

” I try to tell my patients that an angiogram is a direct visualization and there are limitations to it. I give them an example of looking at this piece of paper, which is an artery of the heart. ” he holds up a folded sheet of plain white paper. “If we look from straight forward, it looks like it’s pretty wide, and that’s what we’re looking at. However, if you look at it from an angle, then maybe it is not as wide as we thought. and that’s where the angulation and visualization comes, from the outside with the contrast and the Xrays this becomes slightly difficult to discern in certain situations. The OCT can help differentiate between those two where we are not dependant on direct visualization from the outside in a decent resolution but we’ll be able to clearly see from inside the vessel if there is a narrowing or not.”

“Same thing if there’s a stent that has narrowed up. With direct visualization fro the inside we can even see each stent strat, which is micro millimeters in length and diameter, to the last detail. And that helps clarify if there is a problem with the stent itself. If there is a narrowing. The mechanism behind the problem, which can be identified so future problems can be avoided. “

“The newest reiteration of the OCT is an Aptivue update for the same technology. Washington Regional is proudly one of the few centers in the country that will be implementing the advanced upgrade of the OCT which should provide much more clarity and more simplified usage of this technology for better care of the patients.”

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