Tracking delivery of a drug surrogate in the porcine heart using photoacoustic imaging and spectroscopy

Kenneth J. Furdella, Russell S. Witte, Jonathan P.Vande Geest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although the drug-eluting stent (DES) has dramatically reduced the rate of coronary restenosis, it still occurs in up to 20% of patients with a DES. Monitoring drug delivery could be one way to decrease restenosis rates. We demonstrate real-time photoacoustic imaging and spectroscopy (PAIS) using a wavelength-tunable visible laser and clinical ultrasound scanner to track cardiac drug delivery. The photoacoustic signal was initially calibrated using porcine myocardial samples soaked with a known concentration of a drug surrogate (DiI). Next, an in situ coronary artery was perfused with DiI for 20 min and imaged to monitor dye transport in the tissue. Finally, a partially DiI-coated stent was inserted into the porcine brachiocephalic trunk for imaging. The photoacoustic signal was proportional to the DiI concentration between 2.4 and 120 μg/ml, and the dye was detected over 1.5 mm from the targeted coronary vessel. Photoacoustic imaging was also able to differentiate the DiI-coated portion of the stent from the uncoated region. These results suggest that PAIS can track drug delivery to cardiac tissue and detect drugs loaded onto a stent with sub-mm precision. Future work using PAIS may help improve DES design and reduce the probability of restenosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041016
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • coronary heart disease
  • drug-eluting stent
  • intravascular ultrasound
  • left anterior descending coronary artery
  • photoacoustic imaging
  • spectroscopy
  • tracking diffusion
  • ultrasound imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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