Excimer laser spectroscopy: Influence of tissue ablation on vessel wall fluorescence

R. T. Strebel, U. Utzinger, M. Peltola, J. Schneider, P. F. Niederer, O. M. Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Limited steerability and injury to the normal vessel wall are major drawbacks of laser coronary angioplasty. To overcome these limitations a new generation of laser systems has been developed which allows not only to eliminate the atherosclerotic plaque but to guide the laser beam by analyzing the laser induced tissue fluorescence (=spectroscopy) for the treatment of the atherosclerotic vessel. An excimer laser (MAX 10 LP, 308 nm, Technolas, Munich, Germany) was used with an emitting (Ø 1070 μm) and a detecting (Ø 130 μm) optical fiber to induce tissue fluorescence which was analyzed quantitatively by a computerized system. Specimens from the descending (thoracic) aorta were obtained from 24 patients (mean age 68.1 years, range 44-92). Tissue fluorescence was induced with ablating (26-30 mJ/mm2) and nonablating (3 mJ/cm2) laser activations. The emitted fluorescence (range 380-575 nm) was normalized to a wavelength of 380 nm; as a measure of tissue fluorescence the intensity ratio at 500 nm divided by 400 nm was calculated in normal (n=78), mildly atherosclerotic (n=40), and severely atherosclerotic (n =48) tissue samples. Repeated laser activations were carried out and tissue fluorescence was checked until the fluorescence spectrum was normalized. All tissue samples were analyzed histologically by a semiquantitative score. Normal tissue samples showed the highest intensity ratios (5.9±3.4), whereas mildly (2.9±1.3) and severely atherosclerotic (2.1±1.0) samples elicited a significantly reduced fluorescence. Repeated tissue ablations were associated with a normalization of fluorescence intensity ratios in the mildly (7.0) as well as in the severely diseased (4.9) vessels. A curvilinear relationship between intensity ratio and the semiquantitative score was observed (r =0.66) as well as between intensity ratio and intimal wall thickness (r=0.62). No gender related differences were found but there was an inverse relationship between fluorescence intensity ratio and age (r=0.56) as well as between intimai thickness and age (r=0.41). Excimer laser spectroscopy allows reliable detection of atherosclerotic vessel alterations. Fluorescence intensity ratio is inversely proportional to the intimal wall thickness and the severity of the histologic alterations. There is an age dependency of fluorescence intensity ratio which can be explained by an increase in intimai wall thickness. Successful tissue ablation can be obtained by laser angioplasty and allows determination of the optimal point where complete tissue ablation is achieved by laser activation. Thus, excimer laser spectroscopy is an effective method for selective tissue ablation by laser angioplasty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Laser Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Atherosclerosis; gender and age dependence
  • Excimer laser spectroscopy
  • Semiquantitative histologic score
  • Tissue fluorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Instrumentation


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