Fluorescence spectroscopy for identification of atherosclerotic tissue

F. Bosshart, U. Utzinger, O. M. Hess, J. Wyser, A. Mueller, J. Schneider, P. Niederer, M. Anliker, H. P. Krayenbuehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: Vessel perforation and limited steerability of the laser light are the major limitations of laser angioplasty. To improve steerability fluoresence spectroscopy has been proposed for identification of atherosclerotic plaques. The aim was to investigate this. Methods: Fluorescence spectroscopy with three different excitation wavelengths (325 nm, 380 nm, 450 nm) was tested in an emission range of 400 nm to 600 nm. Intensity ratios at 480/420 nm were determined in different types of blood vessels. Necropsy material from 40 patients (punch biopsies of 4 mm diameter from the coronary and carotid artery as well as from the ascending and descending aorta) was studied spectroscopically. Histological alterations of the vessel wall were assessed by a semiquantitative score (0 to 10 points): (a) normal tissue, 0 to 2 points (mean=0.25; n=38); (b) mild atherosclerotic lesions, 3 to 5 points (mean=3.35; n=39); (c) severe atherosclerotic lesions, ≥ 6 points (mean=6.75; n=43). Results: Best spectroscopic results were obtained with an excitation wavelength of 325 nm. In samples with severe atherosclerotic lesions the fluoresence spectra showed a significant reduction of the emitted wavelength intensities when compared to normal tissue. There was a clear separation of the fluorescence spectra between normal and mild as well as between normal and severe atherosclerotic lesions; normal tissue showed an increased intensity in the range from 420 nm to 540 nm, whereas atherosclerotic lesions had no or only a small peak at 480 nm. There was a significant correlation between the semiquantitative score (n=120) and the fluorescence ratio at 480/420 nm (excitation wavelength 325 nm) with a correlation coefficient of 0.87. The spectroscopic results showed no differences between the samples taken from different types of vessels. Conclusions: Fluorescence spectroscopy allows a reliable identification of normal and atherosclerotic lesions. The close correlation between the emitted light intensity ratio at 480/420 nm and the histological alterations of the vessel wall suggests a relationship between vessel wall fluorescence and the atherosclerotic alterations of the wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)620-625
Number of pages6
JournalCardiovascular research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1992


  • Angioplasty
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary
  • Excitation wavelength
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Histological score
  • Laser
  • Monochromatic light

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluorescence spectroscopy for identification of atherosclerotic tissue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this